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127 out of 175 people found the following review useful:

Anthony Hopkins at his best

7/10
Author: chrismsawin from United States
27 January 2011

The Rite looked like it would be a mixed bag right from the start. The film seemed to suffer the same fate many other films before it fell victim to and that's giving away too much of the storyline in the trailers. On top of that, it was a film that revolved around exorcism which is a subject that usually leads to disappointing results. Expectations would lead one to believe that The Rite would have enough momentum to reel you in only to drop the ball during its finale similar to last year's The Last Exorcism (except hopefully without the appearance of a neon red, glow in the dark fetus). Luckily, the film has a few surprises up its sleeve.

The cinematography in the film is probably the first thing you'll notice visually. The opening of the film makes things like dripping embalming fluid, a swing set on a playground, and an overturned shopping cart seem more interesting than they really are. Rain is an element used fairly often in the film to usually signify when something has gone wrong or is about to. Whether the camera is placed up high to make it seem like you're looking down on the cast from the heavens or down low as if you're looking up at them from the depths of the earth, the rain sequences in the film are definitely some of the most memorable due to the camera work.

This is probably a pretty obvious statement, but the film is worth seeing for Anthony Hopkins alone. It's not that Colin O'Donoghue does poorly since he certainly has a strong screen presence and does a fantastic job carrying the film, but Hopkins just manages to trump that while stealing every scene he's in and rightfully so. Father Lucas Trevant is the strongest and creepiest role Hopkins has played since Hannibal Lecter and his best role overall in years. It's just amazing seeing a man in his seventies give a performance that's this physical and this absorbing. Speaking of distinguished actors, it was nice seeing Rutger Hauer as well even if it was just for a small role.

The dream sequences and hallucinations in the film may have been my hands down favorite. I've always been a fan of the surreal, the imaginative, the creative, and the things that don't seem to make sense at first but gain meaning as the film or story progresses. I never thought I'd find myself intrigued with the actions of a mule or that frogs could have an even deeper meaning than what you're probably expecting, but The Rite accomplishes this very well.

Thankfully, The Rite delivers an exorcism film that is actually worth seeing. It'll probably be forgotten about in a year filled with so many blockbuster film releases, but considering that January and February are usually filled with such monstrous duds at the box office The Rite manages to surpass expectations. While the film does seem rather reminiscent of The Last Exorcism and borrows the atmosphere from the Heath Ledger film The Order, The Rite is actually a better experience overall. With an engrossing performance by Anthony Hopkins along with a fairly strong cast all around, its fantastic cinematography, surreal dream sequences, and a satisfying conclusion that doesn't hint at a sequel, The Rite is actually a surprisingly decent film all around.

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118 out of 161 people found the following review useful:

Since Exorcist, there's maybe one or two movies of this subject that have been good...half decent...and this is one of them.

7/10
Author: poicop from Canada T.O.
31 January 2011

Sometimes you read reviews, but want to see the film so bad, you go, and because your expectations are so low. You enjoy the movie. Reviews seems to be on the good side, with earlier reviews being very bad.

This is a good movie. The acting is good. The directing is good. Unfortunately some people are bothered by the lead in the movie. But that's his job. And he did his job well. He was picked for a good reason. I would only be guessing why. But those/the director/writer who created this movie did a good job. The feel of this film, the length. I had a good time.

I would give this film a decent 7 out of 10. It does not rely on gore to scare you, or major special effects, or 3D. No doubt Anthony Hopkins is great in this film.

I enjoyed it. You get what you paid for. Your not going to get The Exorcist. But in the HORROR film library, if you ask me, 80 - 85% of them all are garbage, or slasher, gore, which I do not consider a "Horror Movie."

Well done everyone involved. It will not win awards. But so far it's a decent film that I will remember as one of the good ones from 2011.

Lastly....anyone talking during the movie...were silenced.

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103 out of 168 people found the following review useful:

Finally! An exorcism movie worth seeing.

9/10
Author: andrew-a-floyd from United States
29 January 2011

Last night, I realized that I must be an exorcism movie fanatic, because Anthony Hopkins and whoever that other guy was reignited something in me.

I have seen every mainstream exorcism flick in, at least, the last ten years (Exorcism of Emily Rose, The Last Exorcism, Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist, and all of the exorcists for that matter). With the exception of some of The Exorcist series, the rest have basically been crap. This movie brought the exorcism sub-genre(?) back from the brink of death.

The Rite is believable, adequately dark, and yet it doesn't try too terribly hard. Its a bit slow, and it is enriched by having at least lay knowledge of Catholic dogma or at least general spirituality. The viewers patience, however, is not in vain. This movie pays dividends! Best thing about this movie: Anthony Hopkins and Demons.

Worst thing about this movie: A little slow.

Biggest Surprise: Michael. By film's end, this character is fully developed.

Go see it. Its worth paying to see... twice.

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46 out of 61 people found the following review useful:

The Rite saves the dying exorcism sub-genres

9/10
Author: yawar hameed from Pakistan
21 May 2011

After losing faith in the exorcism sub-genres and my sister telling me how average this movie was, i didn't expect much from The Rite. Honestly, the only reason i watched it was because of Anthony Hopkins, and i am glad i did. This movie has everything that fans want in an exorcism movie. Some people may find it a bit slow paced but the movie does not steer off course, every minute is relevant to the storyline.

Even in his 70's, Mr Hopkins did just what was expected from him. He gave a powerful performance which scared the living hell out of me and played his most convincing role since Hannibal Lector but surprisingly so did someone else, someone who i had never heard of. Yes, i am talking about Colin O'Donoghue, who managed to stay in the light and make a great connection with his co-stars. Every character in the movie was fully utilized specially that of Alice Braga.

I find that many people fail to see the spark in this film, and the only reason i can think of is that people these days are too fond of gore which this movie lacks. Surely, The Rite is not for the "Doubters" but for the people who believe and have interest in this subject.

After decades of miserable exorcism movies, finally we got us a winner. Can i dare say that this movie is better than The Exorcist?, No i cant but this is definitely the "Second Best" ..

Now i can confidently say that "you were wrong big sister".

With solid performances, amazing cinematography and mind blowing sound effects, i give it a 9/10.

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53 out of 79 people found the following review useful:

Survival of Exorcism sub-genre with the phenomenon acting by a giant actor

8/10
Author: petit76 from United States
31 January 2011

The Rite looked like it would be a mixed bag right from the start. The film seemed to suffer the same fate many other films before it fell victim to and that's giving away too much of the storyline in the trailers. On top of that, it was a film that revolved around exorcism which is a subject that usually leads to disappointing results. Expectations would lead one to believe that The Rite would have enough momentum to reel you in only to drop the ball during its finale similar to last year's The Last Exorcism (except hopefully without the appearance of a neon red, glow in the dark fetus). Luckily, the film has a few surprises up its sleeve.

The cinematography in the film is probably the first thing you'll notice visually. The opening of the film makes things like dripping embalming fluid, a swing set on a playground, and an overturned shopping cart seem more interesting than they really are. Rain is an element used fairly often in the film to usually signify when something has gone wrong or is about to. Whether the camera is placed up high to make it seem like you're looking down on the cast from the heavens or down low as if you're looking up at them from the depths of the earth, the rain sequences in the film are definitely some of the most memorable due to the camera work.

This is probably a pretty obvious statement, but the film is worth seeing for Anthony Hopkins alone. It's not that Colin O'Donoghue does poorly since he certainly has a strong screen presence and does a fantastic job carrying the film, but Hopkins just manages to trump that while stealing every scene he's in and rightfully so. Father Lucas Trevant is the strongest and creepiest role Hopkins has played since Hannibal Lecter and his best role overall in years. It's just amazing seeing a man in his seventies give a performance that's this physical and this absorbing. Speaking of distinguished actors, it was nice seeing Rutger Hauer as well even if it was just for a small role.

The dream sequences and hallucinations in the film may have been my hands down favorite. I've always been a fan of the surreal, the imaginative, the creative, and the things that don't seem to make sense at first but gain meaning as the film or story progresses. I never thought I'd find myself intrigued with the actions of a mule or that frogs could have an even deeper meaning than what you're probably expecting, but The Rite accomplishes this very well.

Thankfully, The Rite delivers an exorcism film that is actually worth seeing. It'll probably be forgotten about in a year filled with so many blockbuster film releases, but considering that January and February are usually filled with such monstrous duds at the box office The Rite manages to surpass expectations. While the film does seem rather reminiscent of The Last Exorcism and borrows the atmosphere from the Heath Ledger film The Order, The Rite is actually a better experience overall. With an engrossing performance by Anthony Hopkins along with a fairly strong cast all around, its fantastic cinematography, surreal dream sequences, and a satisfying conclusion that doesn't hint at a sequel, The Rite is actually a surprisingly decent film all around. Evren Buyruk

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74 out of 128 people found the following review useful:

Decent representation of exorcism.

8/10
Author: drea_me_3000 from United States
30 January 2011

I read a lot of reviews that panned this movie. Personally I didn't think it was nearly as bad as people claimed it was. I found it interesting and a more true to life representation of what an exorcism is.

You didn't see heads spinning 360 degrees, projectile pea soup spitting, and lots of special effects. However, true exorcisms are not like what they show in the hyped up movies. This is more like what exorcisms are, and for believers, that's equally if not more frightening, because it's more real.

I will agree it is probably more frightening to believers and specifically Catholics than it would be to an Athiest hoping to see a Hollywood horror film.

The acting was quite solid, especially by Sir Anthony Hopkins. Then again, he puts his all into all roles he takes on.

That's not to say there weren't problems in the film. there were some cinematography issues. It was disjointed in many places. It seemed to hop from scene to scene with no proper segway. There were quite a number of moments where they could have pushed the button just a bit more, but missed the chance.

However, the acting was good, the script was fairly solid, the cinematography could have been improved, but it wasn't the worst I've seen... and I appreciated that it wasn't gratuitous. They didn't need to throw in explicit sex or gore to keep the story moving like other Oscar nominated movies. (black Swan lesbian sex scene). It held it's own without all the frills.

I gave it an 8 out of 10. Well worth the watch, but I think Catholics will get more out of it than anyone.

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38 out of 57 people found the following review useful:

Inspired by true events story that is interesting but not exciting

6/10
Author: hyprsleepy from Saint Louis, MO
31 January 2011

While I was always waiting to see what happened next and interested in how the good guys would overcome the challenges they faced I felt completely detached from the main character, Michael Kovak. I don't need to like the main character but I still need to connect. Unfortunately, Michael was very emotionally inaccessible and therefore I never really cared for him.

On a positive note, Anthony Hopkins had a very good performance and the little field trips that he took the "doubter" on were some of the best parts of the movie. I loved how Kovak hung on to his doubt even when faced with an example of the possessed knowing the unknowable. The pacing was slow and gradually ratcheted up the tension as it went along. For some this may be boring but I was comfortable with it as it made the events unfolding feel natural instead of forced or rushed.

Overall, it was an alright movie that could have been great but just wasn't.

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27 out of 42 people found the following review useful:

Entertaining, Well-Acted/Photographed

9/10
Author: ccthemovieman-1 from United States
14 June 2011

Here's a modern-day "exorcist movie" that is "without the head-turning and pea soup," as Father Lucas Trevant" (Anthony Hopkins) puts it early in the movie.

Without the gross stuff - although there are some scary and not-so-pleasant sights and scenes - it makes for a more intelligent look at the subject matter.

Hopkins, no surprise, is excellent in his role at the veteran cleric who has been through many exorcisms. His antagonist, so to speak, is a young seminary student who extremely skeptical. (In fact, in real life, a guy with that little belief in God would never be in a seminary.). Anyway, Colin O'Donoghue is good, too, in that role as "Michael Kovak." Set mostly in Florence, Italy, the photography is nice and the story flows smoothly, building in intensity as it goes.

It was very entertaining and is recommended.

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18 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

Compelling Drama of the Invisible World

8/10
Author: marysjoys from United States
26 May 2011

Review of "The Rite" DVD Rated PG-13 114 minutes By Leticia Velasquez Catholic Media Review

Michael Kovak (Colin O'Donoghue) has always been "a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief." (Isaiah 53:3) The only son of a Chicago funeral director, Itsvan Kovak (Rutger Haer) Michael lived literally down the hall from death his entire life. Unlike most young men who never experience death close hand, Michael is steeped in it, preparing bodies for burial with his father. As a young boy, Michael is coaxed by his father into helping prepare the corpse of his mother, by gently blowing on the red fingernail polish his father applies as he lovingly prepared her body, while whispering endearments into her ear. The image is forever seared into his memory, tainting his adulthood with a lack of faith and a sense of detachment.

When time came to make a decision about his profession in life, Michael knew well that his options were limited, as he told a friend, "in my family; you either become an undertaker or a priest". Michael chose the priesthood, not out of sense of mission, but as a way out of his bleak existence and a means to pay for college. After he is ordained as a deacon, Michael's guilt over deceiving his superior about his intentions impels him to write Fr Matthew (Toby Jones) about his decision to leave the seminary. He admits he has no faith and feels he has no vocation to the priesthood.

But fate intervenes before Fr Matthew can act. The two men are involved in a car accident where a young woman is fatally wounded and Fr Matthew looks on stunned silence as Michael blesses the victim reluctantly yet tenderly as she dies. He is impressed by this and convinces Michael to delay leaving the seminary until after he has taken a two month course in Rome. A course in exorcism; "you're an undertaker, so you're not squeamish" he adds with a gleam in his eye.

Not at all squeamish, Michael plays the role of devil's advocate in his exorcism class in Rome, challenging his instructor over whether the possessed are suffering from psychosis, and is nonplussed over a sudden power outage when the demon Baal is mentioned. In order to help Michael overcome his doubts about the existence of Satan, his professor, Fr Xavier (Ciaran Hinds) sends him to observe veteran exorcist Fr Lucas Trevant (Anthony Hopkins). Michael is joined in his doubts by Italian journalist Angeline (Alice Braga) who wants him to share his experiences at Fr Lucas side for the purposes of an article. These two young cynics are about to engage in a life and death struggle which will evoke deep- seated fears and upend their world view

An eccentric Welshman, Fr Lucas lives a lonely existence in an obscure corner of Rome, occupying an ancient villa whose courtyard is overrun by cats. Fr Lucas takes Michael's cynicism in stride, and advises Michael not to engage in conversation with the demon who possesses the pregnant teen who has come with her sister for her regular exorcism session. Michael is so captivated by her predicament that he finds himself drawn into a life and death struggle with the devil whose very existence he denies.

Although the movie trailer plays like a high-tech adaptation of "The Exorcist", to which exorcism films will inevitably be compared, there is more spiritual and emotional depth to director Mikael Hafstrom's work than Blatty's. "The Rite" more closely resembles the cinematic subtlety and theological accuracy of "The Exorcism of Emily Rose", according to Fr. Gary Thomas, the priest from the book on which the film is based. Michael is a sympathetic character and the film's dramatic exposition of the tragic origins of his faith crisis help the audience sympathize with him as he confronts demons both within and without his tortured soul. Even eccentric Father Lucas, played compellingly by Hopkins is more vivid than the ghostly older priest in "The Exorcist", yet the pairing of priests to defeat Satan is a familiar theme. Fr Lucas even makes a sarcastic reference to "The Exorcist" telling Michael, "You'll see no spinning heads and pea soup here!" What will enliven Catholic viewers is the authenticity of the phenomena of the exorcisms and the splendor of the priesthood when contrasted against the darkness of pure evil. Special effects enhance but do not overpower this compelling thriller and magnificent architecture of Rome augments the timelessness of the story.

For the many fans of the book by AP journalist Matt Baglio, on which the film is loosely based, screenwriter Michael Petroni has respected the basic story while raising the emotional stakes to great dramatic effect when combined with excellent cinematography and the masterful presence of Anthony Hopkins. Priests who watched the film in the theater with me had a positive reaction but pointed the following theological errors; as a deacon, Michael could not give absolution as he appears to do in the case of the dying woman, and that an inexperienced priest with emotional wounds and of questionable faith would never be chosen to become an exorcist. Too many weaknesses for Satan to exploit, they explained. The manifestations of possession (vomiting nails and frogs, unearthly voices, superhuman strength and knowledge of inner weaknesses) are absolutely accurate, according to Fr Gary Thomas, the real priest from Baglio's book, who had a less dramatic change of heart about the existence of Satan. When I asked him in an interview whether he believed that the devil was a being he responded, "I believed when I met him".

For older teens and up for frightening and macabre scenes, appropriate but vivid sexual innuendo (verbal references to incest and rape) and foul language. This film is best seen with parental supervision.

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28 out of 46 people found the following review useful:

An enjoyable though minor thriller

7/10
Author: Ric-7 from New Orleans LA
1 February 2011

From what I could see on sites such as Rotten Tomatoes, the critical consensus was not too favorable. Yet Roger Ebert thought it was a decent little film. After seeing it, so did I.

The scenario of this film was tailor-made for Anthony Hopkins. Could you imagine a better excuse for scenery-chewing and over-the-top carrying-on, other than demonic possession? So you can't complain about the overacting: the Devil made him do it. The demonically-possessed cannot be expected to turn in a subtle performance.

Hopkins did a perfectly fine job with the set up. And the rest of the cast was equally suitable for what they had to do.

It was good to see Rutger Hauer again, a totally remarkable and outstanding actor. He had a very limited role (maybe five minutes screen time total), enough to make me wish he worked more in current films. I miss him.

I have not read the book this film is supposedly based on. But I would assume that fidelity to it is not a major point. There was a lot of humanity and recognizable human emotions evident in this film, and I saw no indications that the film was intended to convert unbelievers. And it worked up to some very suspenseful situations. Which is just what a thriller should do.

This was another instance of Roman Catholic exorcism. There were seven "orders" or steps in becoming a priest. In that order, from minor to major: porter, lector, exorcist, acolyte, subdeacon, deacon and priest. This set of orders supposedly was instituted a millennium ago, or more. In more recent times, the "exorcist" order is virtually ceremonial. The actual current exorcists are specially appointed priests. But it makes you wonder: back in the Early Ages, the next step after reading the Bible at church services (being a "lector") was to cast out demons (being an "exorcist"). Was there a special need way back then? Such that the faithful could not wait for an ordained priest to intervene? We've also seen Protestant exorcism recently, in The Last Exorcism. I have no reason to believe that casting out demons is limited in any way to Roman Catholics. I think the next film begging to be made is a Jewish exorcism. Perhaps there is a Muslim equivalent as well.

I am not saying that you have to go out and see "The Rite" rite now in the cinema. I don't regret seeing it there. But when it becomes available in a form that you can enjoy at home, it would definitely be something worth while to watch.

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