Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Randy Sly

1/29/2011 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Here is a film based on actual accounts not imagined encounters

"The Rite," which opens on Friday, is a supernatural thriller dealing with the most fundamental battle on earth - the conflict between good and evil, between God and our "adversary the devil, who prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (I Pt. 5:8) Based on factual reports, the film shows God's victory over the devil as well as doubt.

When seminarian Michael Kovak (Colin O'Donoghue) is assigned to an experienced exorcist, Father Lucas Anthony (Anthony Hopkins), the world of the demonic is opened before him.

When seminarian Michael Kovak (Colin O'Donoghue) is assigned to an experienced exorcist, Father Lucas Anthony (Anthony Hopkins), the world of the demonic is opened before him.

Highlights

By Randy Sly

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

1/29/2011 (3 years ago)

Published in Movies

Keywords: the rite, exorcism, movie review, anthony hopkins, fr. gary thomas, demons, catholic


WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - On Friday, January 28, "The Rite" will premier in theaters across the U.S.  Inspired by true events of an actual Roman Catholic Priest, the movie follows the life of seminarian Michael Kovak (Colin O'Donoghue) who is sent to Rome to study exorcism. A troubled skeptic concerning all things regarding the faith, Kovak challenges his instructors on the reality of personal evil.

When Kovak is assigned to an experienced exorcist, Father Lucas Anthony (Anthony Hopkins), the world of the demonic is opened before him. At an appointment he attends with the priest, who has performed thousands of exorcisms, he immediately looks for the obvious, particularly in the realm of psychology, as an answer.

At one point, Father Lucas simply says to him, "Choosing not to believe in the Devil won't protect you from him."

Slowly and reluctantly Kovak begins to see things in a different light, especially when he is confronted with the torment of a young woman, Rosaria, who is possessed and finds himself a target of the evil one.

Along the way, he is befriended by a journalist, Angeline, (played by Brazilian actress Alice Braga) who is writing a story on exorcism while dealing with her own "demons" concerning the death of her brother. She shares his sense of skepticism and also hopes that he can help her get an interview with Father Lucas.

While witnessing the work of Father Lucas in exorcisms, the young seminarian is also battling inside regarding his relationship with solemn and detached father, Istvan Kovak - played by Rutger Hauer - and his personal faith and calling as a priest.

Kovak's faith and self-awareness are seriously challenged as the elder priest does not have the necessary skills to deal with the demonic forces that are gripping Rosaria. Father Lucas was facing an evil that was as terrifying as it was strong.

While "The Rite" would not be properly classified as a horror film, it is intense and graphic in the portrayal of demon possession. According to Father Gary Thomas, on whose experiences the film is loosely based, the scenes in the film truthfully represent possessions that he or other exorcists have actually witnessed. This makes the film all that more intriguing.

Producers Tripp Vinson and Beau Flynn ("The Exorcism of Emily Rose") found out about a book proposal from Matt Baglio, a reporter living in Rome. While covering the Vatican's initiative to appoint a trained exorcist in every diocese in the world, he thought this would make an interesting book.

Really a textbook in disguise, "The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist," by Matt Baglio, chronicles the experiences of Father Gary Thomas during his time in training as an exorcist in Rome. Nothing at all like Michael Kovak in the movie, Father Gary is a mature and faithful priest who found himself being trained for an entirely different form of ministry. He served as a technical adviser for the film.

The producers contacted Michael Petroni, who was one of the writers for "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" to write the screenplay. Petroni, a practicing Catholic, coordinated the development of his screenplay with Baglio, who was writing the book at about the same time.

"I wanted to make the script as accurate as possible," Petroni said, but "I was often ratcheting back many of the stories" regarding the exorcism accounts.

Director Mikael Håfström ("1408," "Evil") accepted the invitation to direct, intrigued by the fact that he would be working from facts, not just someone's imagination. While the film is focused on exorcism, he also believes that "this story is about a young man finding himself and finding his way."

In preparation for the film, Håfström attended some exorcisms in Rome. He was not actually in the room but stayed in the waiting room and could hear what was taking place.

This kind of first-hand experience endowed the director with the ability to create a true-to-life texture in the film regarding the surroundings and environment found where exorcisms are held.

Anthony Hopkins is masterful in his role as Father Lucas, a priest who is quite eccentric and very human. "I've never played a priest before," Hopkins said in a recent interview, "so this was quite new to me." He indicated he was drawn to the script as it touches on our dark side - the psychosomatic and the psychological.

When asked how he felt about the reality of demons he stated that the part had "pushed me to examine my own life" and what he thought.

Michael Novak was played by a newcomer to feature films, Colin O'Donoghue, who sent the producers a homemade audition tape hoping he'd be noticed. Born and raised in Ireland, he was raised Catholic but exorcism was a new area for him to experience. He was able to view an exorcism as groundwork for his role.

The 30 year-old actor holds his own on the screen with Hopkins, who normally dominates a scene by his mere presence. Alice Braga, as the journalist Angeline, provides a somewhat warmer side to a movie that keeps you moving ever deeper into a dark world. Yet, even her character was haunted by issues that needed to be resolved.

There are a few lighter moments in the film. Once, in the middle of an exorcism Father Lucas' cell phone rings and he stops to take the call. Fr. Gary said that this actually happens in exorcisms.

As a Catholic, I was pleased with the way in which the Church and clergy were represented. In particular, the film shows, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Jesus Christ and His Church are triumphant over evil. I think you'll really like the end.

"The Exorcist," of course, remains a horror classic, complete with vomiting split pea soup and head-spinning. "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" was quite good and "The Last Exorcism" better than its reviews. "The Rite" however, is in a different class, rooted in actual case histories and practices. Certainly, Hollywood got involved - it had to provide entertainment value - but there is a quality to this film that sets it apart.

"The Rite," a Contrafilm production directed by Mikael Håfström, is presented by New Line Cinema and distributed by Warner Brothers Pictures.

I highly recommend this film. "The Rite," however, is PG-13 and for good reason; some of the exorcism scenes are quite graphic and unsettling. I would not recommend it for pre-teens.

-----

Randy Sly is the Associate Editor of Catholic Online and the CEO/Associate Publisher for the Northern Virginia Local Edition of Catholic Online (http://virginia.catholic.org). He is a former Archbishop of the Charismatic Episcopal Church who laid aside that ministry to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for November 2014
Lonely people:
That all who suffer loneliness may experience the closeness of God and the support of others.
Mentors of seminarians and religious: That young seminarians and religious may have wise and well-formed mentors.



Comments


More Movies

Science-fiction epic 'Interstellar' has fans wondering: Is wormhole travel possible? Watch

Image of While wormholes are possible according to Einstein's theory of general relativity, Thorne says that such voyages will likely remain in the realm of science fiction.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The science-fiction hit film "Interstellar" has audiences wondering - is "wormhole travel' possible? According to renowned astrophysicist Kip Thorne of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena - not very likely. Thorne should know as he served as the ... continue reading


Parents complain: Ending of 'Big Hero 6' is TOO SAD Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Walt Disney's "Big Hero 6" is cleaning up at the box office. The feature-length animated film features a robot named Baymax who is part "Ghostbusters" Stay-Puft Man and tire mascot the Michelin Man. Cute, fluffy white and adorable, Baymax comes to a rather sad ... continue reading


SEE IT NOW! 'The Identical' shows that faith and family is the key to a full and happy life

Image of Blake Rayne portrays two characters in the new film

By Robert Mullen (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"If He is in your dreams, nothing can stand against them," says the tagline of the new movie "The Identical". It's a simple phrase, but in this drama set primarily against the backdrop of the rise of rock and roll through the '50s and the '60s it still manages to ... continue reading


Walt Disney defrosts 'Frozen' for fun new short film this year Watch

Image of The new short,

By Catholic Online - (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Walt Disney Studios is pulling "Frozen," their animated box-office champ of last year for a fun new movie short. In a title that is the quintessence of contradiction, the new film is entitled "Frozen Fever." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "Frozen Fever" ... continue reading


The Identical: Reviving Values in Hollywood

Image of

By Caitlin Bootsma

Do you ever wonder why Hollywood stopped producing movies like It's a Wonderful Life, Meet Me in St. Louis, or The Wizard of Oz? These were films that you could enjoy viewing by yourself, but also watch with your children or parents without skipping scandalous scenes ... continue reading


Director Martin Scorsese to helm story of 17th Century Jesuit priest Watch

Image of Andrew Garfield will play the lead role of Father Sebastian Rodriguez, a character based on an Italian priest named Giuseppe Chiara.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While he's best known for macho, action dramas such as "Taxi Driver," "Raging Bull" and Goodfellas," movie director Martin Scorsese's previous work has always been steeped in the teachings of the Catholic Church. Now, America's finest living motion picture ... continue reading


Asian-Pacific actor and 'Die Hard' star James Shigeta dies at 81 Watch

Image of Actor James Shigeta as he appeared in his first major screen role,

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Actor James Shigeta, whose most recent high-profile acting role was in the original "Die Hard" entry, has passed away at the age of 81. Shigeta was a highly active Asian-American actor who paved the way for others, and had a 50-year-plus career that stretched ... continue reading


'Transformers: Age of Extinction' battering the box office - in China Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The "Transformers" film series in the U.S., is based on a childhood toy favorite where ordinary, commonplace things such as trucks turn into giant robots to do battle. Aimed at children, "Transformers" films are aimed mainly at children and are booked in stadium ... continue reading


Relativity Studio's Family Friendly 'Earth to Echo' (In theaters Nationwide July 2) will entertain kids of all ages, and provide lots of laughs for parents too!

Image of Earth to Echo will entertain the whole family!

By Donald Clark

Relativity Studio's Family Friendly "Earth to Echo" (In theaters Nationwide July 2) will entertain kids of all ages, and provide lots of laughs for parents too! We had an opportunity to pre-screen Earth to Echo with 350 children and their parents at the TLC theatre in ... continue reading


Cop comedy '22 Jump Street' takes box office by storm Watch

Image of The comically inept cop comedy duo of Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum in

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In spite of the World Cup and the Stanley Cup finals dominating TV airwaves this past weekend, it didn't keep film fans from heading to the theaters in droves. The nation's pick for top flick? The rowdy cop comedy "22 Jump Street," which grossed an impressive ... continue reading


All Movies News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Revelation 15:1-4
1 And I saw in heaven another sign, great and ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 98:1, 2-3, 7-8, 9
1 [Psalm] Sing a new song to Yahweh, for he has ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:12-19
12 'But before all this happens, you will be seized ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 26th, 2014 Image

St. John Berchmans
November 26: Eldest son of a shoemaker, John was born at Diest, Brabant. He ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter