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the-rite

Image Credit: Egon EndrenyiEven though we knew EW's film critic, Owen Gleiberman, gave the weekend's No. 1 movie, The Rite, the demonic grade of D, we thought it might be fun to see what all the fuss was about. After all, who doesn't love a silly horror movie that involves the devil, exorcisms, lots (and lots) of feral cats, a red-eyed mule, and Sir Anthony Hopkins? Well as it turns out, we couldn't agree with our critic's assessment more: "The Rite commits the supreme sin of making the devil dull."

Seriously!  Who could have guessed that something with as juicy a subject as exorcism could end up so totally snoozy? And yet…. Here's the basic plot: Michael, a young and somewhat skeptical priest-in-training (Colin O'Donoghue, a Jake Gyllenhaal manqué) gets sent to Rome to learn the exorcism business at the feet of Anthony Hopkins' Father Lucas Trevant, an unorthodox priest with an unexplained love of motorbikes and stray kitties. Michael manages to stay unconvinced of the reality of the devil even in the face of some overwhelming diabolical evidence (how one can rationalize away a young and pregnant Italian woman spitting up nails seems rather determined). Oh, and did we mention that Rutger Hauer, Toby Jones, Ciarán Hinds, and Alice Braga (I am Legend) all show up in supporting roles? What the heck, movie?

As with all movies that somehow don't end up working, it's interesting to think about how this project managed to get the green light — and get Anthony "Hannibal Lecter" Hopkins to come in to chew up (and spit out) the scenery? (Was it the promise of an on-location job in Rome? Or the chance to get to call someone "kissy lips"? We might never know.) Sometimes when Mr. Hopkins appeared onscreen, it felt as though it was an entirely different movie then the one we sat through — especially when he got to go totally possessed Hannibal-y crazy — unfortunately a good 75 minutes into the film.

What about you, PopWatchers? Did you see The Rite this weekend and do you agree with our assessment? And what do you think might have made this movie more watchable? (For our money: explain those d**n cats!)


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