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Title: The Rite
Starring: Colin O'Donoghue, Anthony Hopkins and Ciarán Hinds
Directed by: Mikael Håfström
Written by: Michael Petroni, Matt Baglio
Studio: New Line Cinema
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 114 Minutes
Release Date: 5/17/2011

Movie: :3stars:
Video: :4.5stars:
Audio: :4stars:
Extras: :4stars:
Overall: :3.5stars:

The Rite opens with Michael Kovak (Donoghue) working for his father at the family business as an undertaker. His task for the day is preparing a young woman who has commited suicide for her funeral when his father enters the room and the two begin to speak about what happened to this unfortunate soul. As the conversation goes on, we learn enough about the family to quickly understand that the father and son obviously have a very closed relationship that don’t share much outside of work.

Shortly into the film, Michael decides that the time has come for him to move on and get a better education, but for some reason he feels his only option is emissary school and a career as a priest. Suddenly it is four years later and Michael is about to graduate with outstanding grades in all areas of study save one; theology. You see, Michael has everything he needs for a career in the priesthood except for faith.

After a conversation with Father Matthew (Toby Jones), Michael is somehow convinced by the priest to go to Rome and study at becoming an exorcist under the tutelage Father Xavier (Hinds). During his time in Rome Michael is introduced to Father Lucas Trevant (Hopkins), a practicing exorcist and Michael’s new mentor. This opens Michael to a whole new world in which his lack of faith may be his undoing.

Here is my problem with The Rite; it is a very engaging film with an incredible performance by Anthony Hopkins for the last 25 minutes of the film however; everything leading up to that point is absolute rubbish. The first 90 minutes or so of this movie are extremely arduous and unorganized at best and as brilliantly acted the final act is by Sir Anthony Hopkins, the end result barely receives a passing grade. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t the worst movie I have ever seen, but it is definitely not one I plan on revisiting.

The problems that I had with this film is that the story takes forever to get off of the ground and the little tidbits that are offered to the viewer along the way were little more than properly placed audio and visual for a “GOTCHA!” moment. The story itself is pretty much a mess with several side stories that don’t go anywhere and in the end it really came off as if the filmmakers just couldn’t stay on task until the final act, which is disappointing because they had all of the elements for a very scary, story driven horror movie, but in the end just could not deliver.

In the final act of the film Anthony Hopkins turns in a performance of a possessed Father Trevant that is absolutely brilliantly evil and it is a shame that it was all for naught. There were two times that I actually almost turned off the movie and called it quits, but there was just enough shake-ups to the story to get me to finish and I do think it was worth it in the end.

Rated PG-13 for disturbing thematic material, violence, frightening images, and language including sexual references.

Video: :4.5stars:
Presented in 1080P AVC-1 with an aspect resolution of 2:33.1, The Rite does look gorgeous. The resolution and clarity is fantastic and show unbelievable detail across the board. I found that the outside scenes at Father Trevant’s home pop off of the screen with a brilliantly vibrant Tuscan palette of colors that give the various scene’s an authentic look. Black levels are very deep and menacing at times and shadow delineation is near perfect. Color reproduction is spot on with every shade imaginable coming out in purest form. Flesh tones were natural looking and changed appropriately with each change in setting. I can’t say enough good things about how good this one looks and it definitely received a lot of love from the New Line staff.

Audio: :4stars:
This is kind of a mixed bag for me. When things finally get going in the final act the DTS-HD-MA is off the chain with an extremely dynamic audio presentation. The LFE is aggressive and used creatively to thrust the viewer into the moment and effectively relay feelings of panic and fear. The surrounds are an essential part of the mix putting out demon whispers and creepy sounds to immerse the audience even deeper into the ensuing chaos. Dialogue is perfectly clear and never gets lost within the action on screen.

Unfortunately you have to wait about 90 minutes before any of that really takes off and you get any enjoyment out of it. The lackluster score does little to help save for the piano melody which is catchy, but far from a theme that instills fear.

Extras: :3stars:
  • The Rite: Soldier of God
  • Alternate ending
  • Deleted scenes – 12 minutes
  • BD-Live enabled
  • Bonus DVD/Digital Copy of The Rite

Overall: :3.5stars:
Overall I found The Rite to be entertaining enough to keep me occupied, but slow enough to almost turn it off twice. I really don’t know how to recommend this one either because while I do think that Hopkins performance in the last act is well worth watching, I also think that the long road to get there may not be everyone’s cup of tea. I guess the best way to sum it up would be to say that the payoff is worth the ride, but just barely. Next up, Drive Angry!!

Recommendation: Rent it!

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