01 February 2011

The Rite: Not as bad as it could have been, but not as good, either

If you're curious about the recently released movie The Rite, Brad Miner has a good review of it at The Catholic Thing. In short, he says:

Indeed, The Rite isn’t nearly as bad as you may have read. Then again, it’s not nearly as good as it should have been.

At the start of The Rite, there seem to be two dangerous and other-worldly forces in play: demonic evil . . . and Catholicism. The Church has become one of Hollywood’s enduring villains, and, thanks to intimations of anti-Catholicism, after about fifteen minutes I was half-tempted to walk out of the movie. And when young Fr. Kovak finally finds his faith – at the climax, by rule near the end – it’s mostly because he has sure as hell come to believe in Satan.

When he calls out a well-known demon in the name of Jesus Christ, it’s as though a vacuum at the heart of modern movie making has been unsealed. At the same time, you couldn’t call The Rite a Catholic or even a religious film in any proper sense. The movie fails to make the rite of exorcism anything more than a plot device, no different than the Ghostbusters’ Neutrino Wand that zaps out demons and stores them in a Proton Pack.

That’s sad, because as Fr. Lucas tells Fr. Kovak: “Choosing not to believe in the devil won’t protect you from him.”

Father Dwight Longencker has also posted a review at Standing On My Head. He summarizes this thoughts in these words:

So as a movie, it's pretty good. I like the Roman setting, the cool old architecture and atmosphere of Rome, the fine acting by both Hopkins and Donoghue. The directing is suitably atmospheric and the drama/horror managed in a way that is larger than life, but not too much so. There were little problems with verisimilitude church wise, but on the whole 8 out of 10.
Has Father Barron spoken on the movie yet?


  1. Fr.,

    Did you wear your clerics into the theater and receive "looks?"