The Rite (2011)

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IMDb Rating
6.0 out of 10 (view IMDb page)

  • Not Rated Yet
(Based on 2 Ratings)
MPAA Rating:
112 Minutes
Drama, Horror, Thriller
Mikael Hafstrom
Michael Petroni

Weekly Volcano's Review

Rev. Adam McKinney on January 26th, 2011

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For those of you who are without faith, here is the good news: Atheists like you and me cannot be possessed by demons. Huzzah!

All you believers, you'd better watch your back because, as it seems, demons are just floating around waiting to mess your shit up. This is their only purpose, and there are thousands (or, perhaps, millions) of them. Once they enter your body, they make you do terrible things like, oh, say mean things to friends of yours. Demons can be such bitchy queens.

Films about demonic possession have a not-too-illustrious history. Recently, the best one I've seen has to be The Exorcism of Emily Rose, with which The Rite shares some qualities. The brilliant quality that Emily Rose possessed was the ability to leave you questioning about the validity of the demonic possession even after the film ended. It didn't give up any easy answers.

For the first half of The Rite, I was surprised by the clever way that the film eased into the idea that one's body and mind could be taken over by an evil entity. Even the film's protagonist, Michael (Colin O'Donoghue), doesn't believe in such malarkey. He has joined the seminary, but only because he was pressured by his father (genetic father, that is). He has no faith. When he tries to resign from the seminary, his teacher talks him into taking a class in Rome for exorcism.

In Rome, his teacher explains some of the ways to tell if someone is truly possessed or if they are suffering from a mental disorder. The priest says that if one was to splash holy water onto a subject or to invoke the Lord's name and the subject has a violent reaction, then case closed! Possession!

As a sensible person in the audience, I was about to wag my finger in disapproval before Michael piped up and said that if an insane person's delusion was that they were possessed by the devil, then they would have the same reaction.

BOOM! We're on the same page, The Rite.

So, Michael's teacher sends him to learn from a more "unorthodox" priest by the name of Father Lucas (Anthony Hopkins). True to his word, Father Lucas makes Michael an audience to a supposed exorcism performed on a 16-year-old pregnant girl. Lucas informs Michael that exorcisms can take months or years, so they function very similarly to therapy (my conclusion, not theirs). This is an exorcism session.

Michael is still not convinced and, as an audience, neither are we. Until, that is, the second half of the film goes off the goddamn rails and we are left without a shred of subtlety. Exorcism exists, yes, the film tells us; we are right to fear it, yes. Just because you don't believe in the devil, doesn't mean he can't getcha! Except for the non-believing Michael. He remains un-possessed. No spoiler!

What we have here is a clever first half of a supernatural thriller and a schlocky bogus half of a supernatural thriller. Both halves are valid, in their way, though it seems odd that they continue to hang out together. - Three out of four stars stars 

User Reviews of The Rite (2)

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ian abel said on Jan. 27, 2011 at 12:55pm

So what you're saying is I should wait for it come out on video, watch it with a bottle of wine and date, start the tape, open the bottle, get COMFORTABLE, grab on to a few initial and over riding concepts, have SEX, finish the bottle and tune back into the flick for a predictable but exciting finish, hit rewind and move the party to the that what you're trying to say?!

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Rev. Adam McKinney said on Jan. 27, 2011 at 5:13pm


I can't imagine anything better than making love to a woman with The Rite blaring in the background.


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