The Rite

Photo #5

Film (with rating): The Rite (PG-13)


Studio: New Line Cinema


Summary: Inspired by true events. Michael, a seminary
student (Colin O’Donoghue), suffers a lack of faith and attempts to leave the
seminary, but instead agrees to study exorcisms in Rome. When he’s paired up
with an unorthodox but effective priest (Anthony Hopkins), Michael realizes his
doubting ways may cause him trouble when battling the devil.


Review: This is not “The Exorcist.” Even the film’s
characters acknowledge that with some “pea soup” quips. But that’s not to say
“The Rite” isn’t a decent film about demonic possession. Not great, but decent.
Sure, there are some weak spots and the acting is not exactly Oscar-worthy
(O’Donoghue could have used a few more facial expressions, and Hopkins
sometimes needed a few less).

But overall, the film, helmed by Mikael Hafstrom
and based on Matt Baglio’s non-fiction book “The Rite: The Making of a Modern
Exorcist,” contains some decent scares, good visual effects, food for thought
and a wonderful opening sequence that is creepy as anything I’ve seen lately.
Hopkins channeled his inner Hannibal for some of the scarier scenes, and seeing
him deal with the devil and modern technology (even priests get interrupted by
their ever-present cellphones) helped make the film succeed.

there were some holes in the plot (exactly how do people get possessed around
here anyway? Is it like the flu and anyone in the area of a sneeze can catch
it?) and the use of almost comical “demons” (the donkey!) didn’t do the movie
any favors, either. I wish Hafstrom would have cut loose a bit and really gone
in for some chilling scares, as seen in “The Exorcism of Emily Rose.”

All in
all, it’s a decent flick that does encourage some thought instead of
spoon-feeding the viewer a bunch of recycled “Exorcist” fare. It’s not
completely unique, but not totally been-there-seen-that either.


Extra highlight: Alternate ending


What to serve for dinner: Since young Michael visits Rome,
cook up Italian food. Try pasta primavera (


* 3 carrots, peeled and cut into thin strips

2 medium zucchini or 1 large zucchini, cut into thin strips

2 yellow squash, cut into thin strips

1 onion, thinly sliced

1 yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips

1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips

1/4 cup olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon dried Italian herbs or herbes de Provence

1 pound farfalle (bowtie pasta)

15 cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup grated Parmesan


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. On a large heavy baking
sheet, toss all of the vegetables with the oil, salt, pepper, and dried herbs
to coat. Transfer half of the vegetable mixture to another heavy large baking
sheet and arrange evenly over the baking sheets. Bake until the carrots are
tender and the vegetables begin to brown, stirring after the first 10 minutes,
about 20 minutes total.


Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted
water until al dente, tender but still firm to the bite, about eight minutes.
Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.


Toss the pasta with the vegetable mixtures in a large bowl
to combine. Toss with the cherry tomatoes and enough reserved cooking liquid to
moisten. Season the pasta with salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle with the
Parmesan and serve immediately.


What to talk about over dinner: What’s your favorite demonic
possession movie? The worst one ever made? Do you believe in possession? Why or
why not? How could this film have been better? What’s your favorite Anthony
Hopkins movie? Did you see any Hannibal in “The Rite?” Do you think frogs are
creepy now? How about those donkeys?