By Joseph Burge
If trailers were any indication of a film’s success at delivering quality entertainment, “The Rite” would have been spectacular. There was a lot of hope here. It had a good topic, a cast which included legendary drama and horror icon Anthony Hopkins, and a whole lot of truth to the story it was telling.
“The Rite” starts out with great promise, but it ends with little payoff.
The film is boring. There isn’t the spark filmgoers need to really get into the story. Although the story itself may be based on a true story, the dialogue is completely unbelievable. People don’t talk like the characters in real life.
When Agnostic seminary student Michael Kovack (Colin O’Donoghue) witnesses a near -fatal accident, he decides that the priesthood may not be for him. But, when his mentor Father Matthew (Toby Jones) tells him of an exorcism school in Italy, he decides to give the class a try. Kovack’s lack of faith angers his teacher (played by Ciaran Hinds), and he is sent to meet veteran exorcist Father Lucas Trevant (Hopkins). What he finds with Father Lucas is that his faith, and everything he used to believe, may be challenged forever.
Hopkins may be able to act, but the dialogue written for him is so ridiculous, he ends up having a lackluster performance. At one point, Hopkins starts shouting slang such as,”dude” or “awesome” in a failed attempt to try to act alongside O’Donoghue. Hopkins finds himself in a rather unbelievable situation, taking away from his seasoned and usually on target acting.
O’Donoghue manages to be laughable the whole film. This new actor not only fails to provide any sort of excitement for the viewer, but he almost seems to make no attempt to get into character. He has little success engaging the audience for the entire film.
The screenplay of Michael Pertroni does little to help either actor along the way. The writing really detracts and only makes the movie worse. Even the scenes that were written to be exciting only manage to merely tickle the viewer instead of energize them. Its only real scares lie in startle moments, and without those, it’s a pretty long and drawn out movie. The exorcism scenes in particular, which are meant to shock and awe, really don’t grab or enthrall the viewer as well as they should. However, the scenery and music save “The Rite.” During the exorcism scenes, the sound effects and music increase the suspense, even if the acting tends to be distracting. An impeccable score really does add a ton of effect to an otherwise dull experience.
The scenery itself is visually beautiful. The streets of Italy and especially Father Trevant’s house help to distract from the rather dull dialogue. Viewers may, in fact, find themselves watching the scenery more than the actual actors. It really provides a beautiful atmosphere that is otherwise filled with lackluster acting and over-the-top situations. All in all, it’s a worthy trade-off.
Overall, this movie is below average and really does nothing to make itself worth the ticket price. “The Rite” is a rent-only movie. Horrible writing, some really bad acting and amazing scenery make up the majority of this film. As a whole, it’s not worth it. “The Rite” exorcizes itself a 2 out of 5.