Sunday, February 13, 2011
The Rite is one of the many films on the topic of exorcists and exorcisms and it is unique in that it is a little more realistic than the other possession films I've seen. The Rite is based on a book of the same name written by a priest. The story is the story of one of 14 US based exorcists. It is the story of his journey through faith to remain a priest and become an exorcist. This movie was almost universally panned by critics despite a wonderful performance by Anthony Hopkins as the older exorcist who has been worn thin by too many years in the presence of demons. The young priest, the protagonist, is apprenticed to Anthony Hopkins and participates in a couple of exorcisms with him. These exorcisms are mellow by our pea soup spitting standards and the young priest remains unconvinced there is anything but severe mental illness at work in the two possessed victims. However, after the older priest becomes possessed the young priest rediscovers his faith and comes to believe in demons.
Whatever the critcs may say, I enjoyed this movie very much. It wasn't as violent or spectular as other movies in this genre, but it makes up for that in realism. What is most terrifying about his movie to me is that is is based on a true story. The events in the movie were witnessed by a journalist who reported and confirmed the events in the movie. No one's head spins around and there is no pea soup, but the victims live in constant fear and terror and are haunted by relentlessly hateful spirits that are more terrifying than most of the other depictions I've seen. I also watched The Last Exorcism this weekend and the two movies were a stark contrast to me. The Last Exorcism was a slow attempt at realism that became silly and laughable at the end and The Rite maintained its tone and texture well.