What do you get when you combine one of the great character actors of our time with the same old hackney'd storyline ... you guessed it, you get The Rite.
Now don't get me wrong, I love Anthony Hopkins. You can give that man a transcript of The Jersey Shore to read aloud and he would still have you spellbound. And even with the sub-par material he is given to work with here, he still chews up all the scenery and leaves you wanting more.
I think this film ended up being a case of someone saying "Hey Tony, how many zeros would we have to put on a cheque to get you to act our movie?" And I hope for Hopkin's sake, it was a lot of zeros.
The other big shame of this film is how poorly they used another (iMHO) great actor ... Rutger Hauer. This is a man who manages, with the right material, to portray marvelously layed and adept performances. Seriously, who could forget him as Roy Batty in Blade Runner, or as Capt. Navarre in the oft overlooked film Ladyhawke? Even in the small roles he has had in recent blockbusters like Batman Begins he manages to stake out and own his part in the story. Sadly, his talents had little to no use in this film.
This is your typical, bog standard, boy seeks life, boy runs away to seminary school to scam them for an free education, boy forced to confront his faith in the face of demonic trials and tribulations. Colin O'Donoghue seems to only be able to convey his deep spiritual dilemma and growing realization of the "reality" of demonic forces in the world as some kind of cluelessly arrogant dyspepsia. Even when we get to the climatic scene at the end of the film where he confronts the Demon (Ba'al), who is possessing Hopkin's character, you don't get so much a sense from the character that he is floored by the "revelation" of God's actual "existence" in the world ... it's more of a "Okay, I guess God is real ... who knew?" moment.
Now, I know some people here will wonder why I, as an avowed Atheist, watch these kinds of films. The answer is simple: because scaring yourself is fun. I really love horror films, and the ones with a religious theme to them are usually the best by dint of (again, IMHO) strapping the christian mythos to a battle with unknowable powerful forces. Every film like this is inevitably compared to the granddaddy masterwork of this genre, The Exorcist. Unfortunately, as far as I was concerned, this film failed for all the same reasons that The Exorcist succeeded.
Anyway, I would love to hear what anyone else who saw this film thought
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