By Brett Mullins
Directed by Mikael Håfström; Screenplay by Michael Petroni
The Rite is a possession film that teeters on the line between serious and very silly. Luckily, the film stars Anthony Hopkins as the rather curious Father Lucas, an unorthodox exorcist practicing in Rome. Hopkins' well executed performance prevents this film from falling into the endless pit of silly religious films.
Michael Kovak is nearing graduation at a Seminary institution. He begins to doubt his belief in the afterlife and attempts to part ways with the university. Michael is approached by an instructor that reveals that if he chooses to leave prior to his graduation, he would owe several thousand dollars for his tuition; however, he offers Michael an opportunity to study as an exorcist in Rome in compensation for the payment. Once in Rome, Michael is sent to assist Father Lucas to vindicate the belief in God and the devil.
With the exception of Hopkins, the acting in this film is not quite adequate. At points, it seemed almost painful to watch Colin O'Donoghue (Michael Kovak) contemplate series of absurd points and flawed arguments regarding God’s existence. This is done to the point that it almost appears as though the screen writer sought to satirize the argument on both sides.
The film also suffers from a blatant case of product placement that should leave the audience shaking their heads at McDonald’s, though I suspect this was not the case. Once again, this was executed to such an extent that it comes off a bit of a joke.
Just when the film seems as though it will slowly fall apart, Anthony Hopkins makes is appearance near the half hour mark and saves the film from becoming a boring Exorcist clone. Hopkins’ presence, alone, makes the film much more interesting. He causes the audience to begin to care about the film’s plot so they become emotionally involved.
This culminates into a mildly interesting and quite entertaining religious film that’s worth watching, if for nothing else, then Hopkins’ amazing performance near the end of the film.