Screen Gems Movie Reviews
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The Rite January 28, 2011
The Rite
Studio: Warner Bros.
Rating: PG-13 for disturbing thematic material, violence, frightening images, and language including sexual references.

The devil is alive and well. That's the message of "The Rite."

Michael Kovak (Colin O'Donaghue) is a young priest who is just about ready to call it quits. But, before he can leave the priesthood, he's selected to go to the Vatican to attend classes on exorcisms.

However, his instructor soon senses his lack of faith, so Kovak is sent to visit a veteran Irish priest named Father Lucas Trevant (Anthony Hopkins).

Father Trevant has had plenty of practice getting rid of demons. He's an accomplished exorcist, but even he has a hard time convincing Kovak that supernatural forces are at the root of mankind's problems.

Kovak remains skeptical, even after seeing some amazing things. However, he eventually begins to realize that evil is real and that demons can be anywhere.

Okay, here is the major problem with this type of film. Anything like this is inevitably compared to "The Exorcist."

Of course, that is...if you'll pardon the expression...the "Holy Grail" of demonic possession movies.

But if you can take "The Rite" by itself you'll be able to enjoy a perfectly fine thriller.

The main reason for the movie's success lies in its performances. The actors are simply better than the material they are working with.

O'Donaghue is compelling as the young priest at a crossroads. But as is usually the case, it is Hopkins who steals the show. He is charismatic and energetic in his early scenes, but it is in the film's climax when his full range of talent is on display.

As a matter of fact, I would have liked to have seen a lot more of Hopkins as he unleashes his dark side. Few actors can play evil characters like he can. But his part isn't as big as the movie's advertising leads you to believe. It is O'Donaghue's show...Trevant is just a piece of his puzzle.

On my rating scale, "The Rite" earns a DOUBLE.

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