Movie Review – The Rite (2011)

The Rite (2011) ReviewCast & Credits
Fr. Trevant – Anthony Hopkins
Fr. Kovak – Colin O’Donoghue
Angeline – Alice Braga
Fr. Xavier – Ciaran Hinds
Fr. Matthew – Toby Jones
Istvan Kovak – Rutger Hauer

Warner Bros. presents a film directed by Mikael Hafstrom. Written by Michael Petroni, based on the book by Matt Baglio. Running time: 112 minutes. Rated PG-13 (for disturbing thematic material, violence, frightening images, and language including sexual references).

Based on the book The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist by journalist Matt Baglio, the film follows young priest-in-training Michael Kovak (Colin O’Donoghue), who decides to leave hos life working at home in his father’s (Rutger Hauer) mortuary business by enrolling in seminary school. Events of Michael’s past have put him at odds with his beliefs, and his theological training has done little to resolve that conflict.

Father Matthew (Toby Jones) comes to believe in Michael’s potential to serve God, and so he sends his student off to Rome to enter a new program on exorcism at a school attached to the Vatican. There, Michael’s petulance and doubt about the authenticity of exorcism cause the teacher of the course (Ciarán Hinds) to send the young priest-in-training to the home of Father Lucas Trevant (Hopkins), a priest with a long resume of successful exorcisms conducted in very unorthodox ways.

Did you ever watch a movie and know that you would not remember much about it afterwards? That just happened to me. I had to write up a quick review of The Rite before I forgot every detail about the film. That is not to say that it was a terrible film, yet a very forgettable film.

Before watching The Rite, I pretty much had an idea of what the movie was about. Sadly, I was almost spot-on with my initial thoughts. I expected a well acted, well shot film with too many characters that blended together (outside of Anthony Hopkins). What I got was a well acted, well shot film with too many characters that blended together (outside of Anthony Hopkins). I also expected far too few chills and also had that served to me.

Not that I am comparing the two films, but I assumed that The Last Exorcist would start a run of exorcism-themed movies and it looks like that assessment was also spot on. I know that there are more exorcism films in production, and in true Hollywood fashion, they will bleed the subgenre dry until we can no longer take any more movies from that subgenre (I.E. torture porn, 3D movies, etc.).

I would be remiss if I did not mention that, as expected Anthony Hopkins played a fine role. He is just a brilliant actor. Outside of Hopkins, I cannot make an effort to comment on any other actor in the film. While it was a pleasure to see Rutger Hauer in the film, his role was just a bit role.

The Rite was directed by Mikael Håfström, best known for helming the adaptation of the Stephen King story 1408, and the Clive Owen / Jennifer Aniston mystery thriller, Derailed. I will admit that I was a fan of both of those films, so I had hoped that The Rite would surprise me as both 1408 and Derailed did, but unfortunately, it was just a bland movie that could have been so much more.

Post your thoughts on the movie in the comments.

The Rite (2011) Review

  • Yes, it really was a shame. I was expecting more. Once you told me your thoughts on it, I pretty much figured that I was not going to get that next scary movie. Oh well, next movie. LOL

  • Good review. It is funny because if you read my review you will notice I didn’t include many specifics about the movie. I couldn’t remember much about the movie either, but I thought it was more because I was so tired when I saw it. I did remember spitting out nails, and the mule with the red eyes. I am sure there were some interesting things said by the demon, but it happened so fast that I don’t remember. Hopkins was great as usual. It was a descent movie just nothing ground breaking.

  • Thanks. You nailed it with the words “missed opportunities”. I never expect to ever see an exorcism movie in my life again to top The Exorcist, but it is a subgenre that is begging for some better films. With the technology out there and the extra opportunities that filmmakers now have, someone needs to come through for us in this subgenre. I loved The Last Exorcist, but it is anything but a true exorcism tale.

  • Your review is spot on. Various pieces are good: the direction, Anthony Hopkins, cinematography; however, the script is bunk with weak dialog. They even go as far as referencing The Exorcist directly (bad move) with the quote “What did you expect spinning heads and pea soup?” Wasn’t horribly offended by the film, but was frustrated with all the missed opportunities.

    My review is up a