In The Rite, journalist Matt Baglio uses the astonishing story of one American priest’s training as an exorcist to reveal that the phenomena of possession, demons, the Devil, and exorcism are not merely a remnant of the archaic past, but remain a fearsome power in many people’s lives even today.
The Rite is apparently inspired by true events of a young man who goes to a seminary and then decides he doesn’t want to be a priest, but his mentor sends him to Rome to learn exorcism, where he runs into Anthony Hopkins. The mentor is Toby Jones, who is terrific, who doesn’t have much time on screen. Father is Rutger Hauer , who doesn’t have much time on the screen. On the other hand, the reason to see this movie is for Anthony Hopkins, who has a lot of time on screen, and chews on the scenery the entire time. This is kind of schlock done very well. I suppose schlock is not a terribly fair term. It depends whether or not you believe in the devil being manifested in exorcisms. As a psychologist, it’s a little hard for me to pull off. And the unanswered questions, which Michael Kovak, our hero, who is played by Colin O’ Donahue, asks is how can you tell the difference between someone who is mentally ill and somebody who in fact is possessed by the devil. Good question, never answered. I’ll give it three and a half stars just because it’s always fun to watch Anthony Hopkins.