What to look out for: Anthony Hopkins (obviously)
What not to look out for: Anything extraordinary
“The Rite” uses the age old conflict of believers versus non-believers to try and construct a more realistic exorcism based drama. Although the fundamentals of the film are based on “The Exorcist”, it still manages to steer clear of the line of wannabe exorcist films that have cropped up over the years. For instance, it doesn’t bank on spinning heads and other such gore. But one has to make certain assumptions about the existence of evil before calling a supernatural drama ‘real’. However, despite its obvious assumptions, it manages to come off as a sincere effort at a supernatural drama.
Michael Kovak (Colin O’Donoghue) is a mortician’s son who has grown up watching his father sew up and polish corpses for a living. After his mother’s death, however, he has taken up nonchalance as an attitude to life. He starts working with his father with the same attitude and walks away to priest school soon after with no apparent purpose in mind except to ‘get away’ from things. He is shipped off to Rome to take a course in exorcism after a superior sees potential in him. Michael of course considers it as a means to wave off his student loan. But strange things start happening when he finally meets Father Lucas Trevant (Anthony Hopkins), a veteran exorcist with unorthodox methods. His quick wit combined with his ‘bag of tricks’ (as Michael calls it) makes him achieve results. Michael accompanies him as he tries to rid a young pregnant woman of the evil that possesses her. But Michael is still not convinced; even after witnessing demonic possessions that will scare the daylights out of most of us. He would rather advice the girl’s family to call for psychiatric help. But when the possessions of the young women start spreading to his personal life, Michael finally takes notice. His doesn’t drop his armor until the full wrath of evil is unleashed on him and threatens to engulf Father Lucas as well.
You might assume that a film based on exorcism is going to be biased but “The Rite” surprisingly manages to showcase both sides. Thrill seekers can also rejoice as there are a few chilling moments. While newcomer Colin O’Donoghue manages to pull it together, Anthony Hopkins carries this film on his talented back.
Verdict: Banking on Anthony Hopkins’ powerful portrayal, it will please lovers of supernatural drama. But if you’re expecting spinning heads and pea soup then you’re looking in the wrong place.