I was very surprised when I walked out of The Rite. I actually enjoyed the movie. I didn’t love it, but at the same time, I really didn’t hate it. I feel that Anthony Hopkins did carry the movie, but the costar, Colin O’Donoghue, did help playing the priest who was questioning his faith. I guess I could also credit the director, Mikael Hafstrom, for making a movie that managed to make me laugh and jump within the matter of minutes.
The Rite is about a priest, named Michael Kovac, who is starting to question his faith. He is sent from America to Italy to study at an exorcism school. While at this school he is taken under the wing of Father Lucas Trevant, who is played PERFECTLY by Anthony Hopkins. Trevant shows Michael several exorcisms to help restore his faith. As Michael continues he starts to “see” the devil.
Now, the trailer manages to give away a key turning point in the movie, Father Lucas Trevant becomes possessed by the devil. I really think that they should have kept that under wraps. It would have made for an interesting surprise mid movie, but since they did give it away, I feel that I can talk about it without feeling like I have spoiled anything.
To finish up the story real quick I will just give you some bullet points. After Michael starts “seeing” the devil, terrible things start to happen in his life, then, the devil takes possession of Father Lucas Trevant which leads to the ending where Michael must find his faith to rid Trevant of the devil. Can he do it? Guess you might have to see the movie to find out!
I was fully expecting to hate this movie. I’m not the biggest fan of exorcism movies at all. I find most of them boring and predictable. While The Rite is predictable, I would say it’s far from boring, the main reason being Anthony Hopkins. Hopkins is a double sided coin in this movie. The first half he is so unorthodox. Example, he’ll be in the middle of an exorcism and then he stops to take a quick phone call! It’s this sort of humor that really felt refreshing for such a serious movie. Every time Michael tries to be serious, you have Trevant cracking some sort of religious joke and it all works really well thanks to Anthony Hopkins.
Flip the coin over and you have Anthony Hopkins playing a demon possessing Trevant. As the demon Hopkins gets more comfortable by channeling some Hannibal Lecter. He’s very creepy and very powerful. Hopkins gives such a strong performance that it helps excuse everyone else. I’m not saying that the character of Michael was boring, but he really didn’t have me caring much at all. I found myself waiting for the next scene with him and Trevant.
I would also like to give some credit to Mikael Hofstrom. He manages to direct both a creepy and funny movie. Like I mentioned above, at the beginning, Hopkins was hilarious. As the film progresses and the devil starts poking his head, a sort of tension starts to build. Michael starts to experience some really freaky dreams and I think that Hofstrom really balanced that well. I didn’t mind jumping from humor to horror. I wouldn’t say that The Rite had the chill that 1408 had, but it certainly had its moments.
The only main problem I had with the movie was the fact that it was a movie dealing with exorcisms. I really dislike them because they all have very predictable endings, and The Rite is no exception. The ending can be seen from a mile away. Thinking back, I also had a problem with the pacing. The middle of the movie really dragged and then the ending wrapped up really fast. I guess it did help build the relationship between Michael and Trevant, but I feel that it could have been trimmed by 15 to 20 minutes.
Overall, The Rite was better than expected, but still nothing great. Anthony Hopkins stole the show and his performance alone is why I would recommend it to any fan of the genre. If you like films dealing with exorcisms you won’t be disappointed. I’d say The Rite is one of the better films of the genre in the past few years. That doesn’t go without saying that this movie would have been a wreck without Hopkins. The story is so overdone!
If you’re not a huge fan of the exorcism genre then stay away from this movie. It doesn’t bring anything new to the table as far as horror and suspense goes. It’s a good movie that was better than expected, but my expectations were set pretty low.
The Rite – 7.5/10