The Rite

Snoozing with the Devil


28 January 2011| No Comments on The Rite     by Sean Chavel


Stinks to high heaven. The Rite is a dissertation and a thriller on exorcisms with two men of the cloth (sterling Anthony Hopkins and dull Colin O’Donoghue) taking on a pregnant girl, a grade school boy and each other in Rome. I don’t have verification but I think it was actually shot in Rome partially, although I think only two square blocks were used and filmed with different angles to make it look different. These are the kind of technical shortcuts it takes. The production isn’t entirely all that shabby and it has a stark brooding visual look. But it’s long on story and long on damn ridiculous omens. Only a couple of minutes of jolting interest can be found.

Especially when there is an omen of dozens of baby toads jumping around the film at that point has no chance in recovering. It doesn’t help that the script has some overly peppered lines in effort to be “hip.” The early peak involves the pregnant girl (Marta Gastini) and the devil within her (that’s not her voice). By the way, the sound effects are way exaggerated. Anyway, these scenes have a few skin-crawling moments. Thanks to Anthony Hopkins for spiking his putdowns of the devil with a savory sling worthy of Titus or Nixon.

No thanks are in order to O’Donoghue (TV acting experience) as the yet to be ordained priest who is a skeptic. But these omens – eerie nightmares, phone calls from the dead, and let’s not forget the toads – should qualify as proof of the devil (at least in movie terms). But there’s a certain point where you believe his character is long past doubt, and yet, going into the third act it turns out he is still a skeptic! This is a movie unclear about character transformation.

Nothing Hopkins has ever done is hammy. Wait a minute – there was last year’s “Wolfman.” You can’t deny he’s hammy here, too. Does Hopkins do these movies as a plea to his fans that he can do fun movies? (Do his fans want him to do this kind of movie?) Unfortunately his choices have been bummers in recent times. The climax of “The Rite” does spur him to work in a sneering mania that is amusing. O’Donoghue has no passion and perhaps no faith in the character he is playing. Alice Braga (“Predators”) is a journalist present to observe but she inevitably gets thrashed around. Loosely based on a true story, it says. Hogwash.

112 minutes. Rated PG-13.


Film Cousins: “The Exorcist” (1973); “Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist” (2005); “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” (2005); “The Last Exorcism” (2010).

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.


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