The Rite: Hopkins Shines In This Rather Ritualistic Thriller

28 01 2011

Based on true events (whatever that means anymore), The Rite hopes to bank on peoples’ fear of the supernatural. And who better to strike fear into the hearts of audiences everywhere than Anthony Hopkins? Here’s the breakdown:

Michael Kovak (Colin O’Donoghue) is an American seminary student unsure of his faith. In an effort to overcome his spiritual crisis, Michael attends an exorcism school in Rome. There, he meets exorcist extraordinaire, Father Lucas Trevant (Anthony Hopkins). With the help of Angeline (Alice Braga), a reporter, Michael sets out to uncover the truth behind the Church’s exorcism rituals – and along the way, he’ll learn more about himself and Father Trevant than he bargained for.

The Monkey: From the very beginning, The Rite sets a wonderful tone for the rest of the movie. The opening sequence graphically depicted a mortician preparing a body for burial; with uncomfortable close-ups and eerie imagery, the rest of the movie’s dark and creepy atmosphere was deftly represented. The Rite benefits immensely from this attention to detail and overall “creepy” factor, characteristics that are used throughout the film to great effect.

In addition to the cinematography, Alex Heffes’ score paralleled the visuals perfectly, creating a solid framework for much of the tension and emotion.

The Rite‘s strongest asset, unsurprisingly, was Anthony Hopkins. His portrayal of Father Trevant was relaxed, even blasé, yet oddly intense and commanding; and it was this unsettling juxtaposition that will undoubtedly have audiences comparing this role to his most infamous character, Hannibal Lecter.

The Weasel: The Rite had several plot threads woven throughout the story (Michael’s father and mother, Trevant’s past, Angeline’s past) and the movie used spastic flashbacks and dream sequences to hint at some of these threads; however, it was unable to wrap them up satisfactorily. One was hoping for a clever bit of writing to bring all the loose pieces together in a unique climax, but The Rite gave up towards the end, instead, choosing to rely on rather traditional, dare I say, ritualistic, horror/thriller clichés.

One of the main story arcs involved Michael’s struggle with faith; yet his character never really developed believably, the movie never really providing sufficient evidence to suggest a change. This made the film’s final moments that much harder to swallow, as Michael’s truncated character arc was at odds with his onscreen actions.

A wonderfully creepy movie, made all the better by a thrilling performance by Anthony Hopkins. Alas, The Rite stumbled into predictability in its final act, preventing it from rising above similar genre films.

3.5 Death Stars out of 5

What do you think? Would you compare Anthony Hopkins’ Father Trevant to Hannibal Lecter? Were you happy with the ending? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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4 responses

31 01 2011

the theaters were FULL of people flocking to this film this past weekend! it sold out more than twice at my theater!! Not one on my list to see anytime soon though! too creepy! haha 🙂

31 01 2011

Don’t like scary movies? I have to say, it was much more thriller than horror though 🙂

1 02 2011

This wasn’t on my to watch list before, but i may try to check it out at somepoint now

2 02 2011

If you see it, let me know what you think! And thanks for the comment! 🙂

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