Saturday, 12 March 2011
REVIEW: THE RITE
15, 104 Minutes. Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Colin O’Donoghue & Alice Braga. Directors: Mikael Håfström. Screenplay: Matt Baglio & Michael Petroni
Now, I know what you’re thinking… “Great, yet another film about exorcists and the devil blah, blah blah.” However, I am happy to announce the release of an exorcism film that’s actually not bad!
When Michael Kovak (O’Donoghue) wants to escape his dreary life his only option is to join a seminary to become a priest. As his education comes to an end he finds himself lacking the faith to finish his exams. In an attempt to make him change his mind Michael’s tutor sends him to Rome to take part in exorcism classes. Still unsure of his religious belief Michael is sent to see Father Lucas Trevant (Hopkins) a practising exorcist who introduces him to some of his patients, but are they possessed or just in need of psychiatric help?
Unlike many other mainstream exorcism films 'The Rite' follows the personal journey of the lead character as well as offering the conventional horror storyline. I must say I was pleasantly surprised to find that this film had no need for the stereotypical head spinning or other such nonsense that can take away the believability from a film. 'The Rite' uses different methods playing on our own beliefs and thus creating a film that is scary without use of special effects or over the top blasphemy and bad language although saying that, this film defiantly does not lack in the creative department the imagery used is brilliant, keeping it simple and therefore creating maximum effect as your imagination does the rest.
Of course, the best thing about The Rite is Anthony Hopkins, his portrayal of Father Lucas’s possession is fantastic. Without a hint of any Hannibal Lector characteristics he manages to become a completely different kind of scary and steals every scene. I also found myself enjoying Colin O’Donoghue’s depiction of Michael Kovak, his character develops dramatically throughout the film from a trainee priest who doesn’t believe in God to a man faced with proof of the devil. His character development is convincing and he does well considering he hasn’t played a lead role in a high concept film before.
Quite possibly the best horror movie I’ve seen for a long time but The Rite is not without its flaws. At some points I felt that the storyline was lacking a back story and often the audience was left to figure it out for themselves, not a bad thing if you have a great imagination but does leave you feeling confused. The transitions between scenes could be smoother and occasionally let the film down. All the flaws are outweighed by the fact that this horror actually has a storyline and more than just two dimensional characters, very refreshing to see something a bit different in this genre.
Even if you don’t like horror, go and see this film, if just for Anthony Hopkins! But don’t forget, just because you don’t believe in the devil, doesn’t mean you’re safe from him…SAMANTHA SMITH.