Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Randy Sly

1/29/2011 (4 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 (4 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'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for February 2015
General Intention:
That prisoners, especially the young, may be able to rebuild lives of dignity.
Missionary Intention: That married people who are separated may find welcome and support in the Christian community.



Comments


More Movies

Artistic, challenging 'Birdman' wins Best Picture at 87th Annual Academy Awards Watch

Image of A challenging allegorical fantasy concerning a screen actor's identity crisis,

By Greg Goodsell

It was an artistic, challenging film, which made demands on its viewer and depicted a most unflattering portrayal of the motion picture industry. "Birdman" took the Oscar for Best Picture anyway, at the 87th Academy Awards. "Birdman" beat out such favorites as ... continue reading


Bond likes them fast: actor Daniel Craig gets to drive amazing Aston Martin DB10 as 007 superspy Watch

Image of Looking forward to a weekend cruise in his new Aston Martin, Daniel Craig appears eager to slip into the role of James Bond in

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"Spectre," the latest installment of the James Bond spy thriller series, kicked off with location shooting in Rome last week. Some Romans were lucky to witness a spectacular car chase along the banks of the Tiber River. James Bond, as played by Daniel Craig ... continue reading


How Anastasia Steele's fairytale in '50 Shades of Grey' would really end Watch

Image of

By Mary Rezac, CNA

Valentine's Day plans do not typically include domestic abuse. DENVER, CO (CNA) - Yet thousands of couples are already pre-purchasing their movie tickets for "50 Shades of Grey," a film which many critics are saying romanticizes and attempts to normalize violence ... continue reading


Film noir femme fatale Lizabeth Scott dies at 92 Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Lizabeth Scott, a blonde, willowy actor with a smoky voice and checkered past, lit up the Hollywood film genre that would later be termed by the French as "film noir." Hardboiled stories about detectives, no-good broads and petty criminals, Scott was the single ... continue reading


Highly controversial 'American Sniper' rakes in $200 million Watch

Image of Some people have celebrated the movie for its unflinching portrayal of combat in Iraq. Others have assailed it as war propaganda.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Nominated for Best Picture and Best Actor, "American Sniper" stars Bradley Cooper as the legendary sniper Chris Kyle. On the track to make $200 million, it may go on to beat 2004's "The Passion of the Christ," which currently ranks as the highest-grossing ... continue reading


Director James Cameron delays 'Avatar' sequel's release until 2017 Watch

Image of Writer and director James Cameron will be filming his three sequels to

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Director and writer James Cameron's science-fiction fantasy epic "Avatar" remains the top-grossing film of all time. This means one thing in success-minded Hollywood: sequels. Cameron, who plans to film all three "Avatar" sequels at the same time - and then ... continue reading


Second-generation Hollywood producer Samuel Goldwyn Jr. dies at 88 Watch

Image of The younger Goldwyn would make his mark on the film industry in the 1980s and 1990s. His legion of hits scored large with both critic and audiences.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The son of one of the most powerful men in Hollywood, Samuel Goldwyn Jr. grew up with all the glitter and glamour that would entail. But one thing was clear to him, even as a young boy: His father frequently mortgaged their lavish Hollywood mansion in order to ... continue reading


George Clooney mocks himself at 72nd Annual Golden Globes awards ceremony Watch

Image of Actor George Clooney sported a

By Troy Dredge, Catholic Online

Accepting his Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 72nd Annual Golden Globes awards ceremony, actor George Clooney made fun of his negative "Monuments Men" reviews and discussed his marriage to Amal Clooney. It wasn't all jokes and laughter: Clooney also wore a "Je ... continue reading


Actor Angelina Jolie meets with Pope Francis after 'Unbroken' screening Watch

Image of Glamour icon and director Angelina Jolie met with Pope Francis at the Vatican after a screening of her film

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Glamour icon and director Angelina Jolie met with Pope Francis at the Vatican after a screening of her film "Unbroken," about Olympic track star and prisoner-of-war Louis Zamperini. Vatican representative the Rev. Federico Lombardi said the film shows "positive ... continue reading


20th Century Fox breaks 21st Century records with worldwide sales Watch

Image of 20th Century Fox, the movie studio, is racking in some 21st century success with international ticket sales.

By Troy Dredge, Catholic Online

Movie studio 20th Century Fox, buoyed by box office champs such as "X-Men: Days of Future Past" and "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes," has set a new record for international ticket sales. Raking in $5.5 billion, 20th Century Fox stole the previous record held by ... 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, Esther C:12, 14-16, 23-25
12 The king said to Queen Esther, 'In the citadel of ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 138:1-2, 2-3, 7-8
1 [Of David] I thank you, Yahweh, with all my heart, ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 7:7-12
7 'Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for February 26th, 2015 Image

St. Isabel of France
February 26: Sister of St. Louis and daughter of King Louis VIII of France ... 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