The Rite


The Rite

Critics Consensus

Anthony Hopkins is as excellent as ever, but he's no match for The Rite's dawdling pace and lack of chills -- or Colin O'Donoghue's tentative performance in the leading role.



Total Count: 169


Audience Score

User Ratings: 52,554
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Movie Info

"The battle against the Devil, which is the principal task of Saint Michael the Archangel, is still being fought today, because the Devil is still alive and active in the world." -Pope John Paul II "The Rite" is a supernatural thriller that uncovers the Devil's reach to even one of the holiest places on Earth. Inspired by true events, the film follows seminary student Michael Kovak (Colin O'Donoghue), who is sent to study exorcism at the Vatican in spite of his own doubts about the controversial practice and even his own faith. Wearing his deep skepticism like armor, Michael challenges his superiors to look to psychiatry, rather than demons, in treating the possessed. Only when he's sent to apprentice with the unorthodox Father Lucas (Anthony Hopkins)--a legendary priest who has performed thousands of exorcisms--does Michael's armor begin to fall. As he is drawn into a troubling case that seems to transcend even Father Lucas's skill, he begins to glimpse a phenomenon science can't explain or control...and an evil so violent and terrifying that it forces him to question everything he believes. Directed by Mikael Håfström ("1408"), "The Rite" stars Oscar (R) winner Anthony Hopkins ("Silence of the Lambs"), Colin O'Donoghue in his feature film debut, Alice Braga ("Predators"), Toby Jones ("Frost/Nixon"), with Ciarán Hinds ("Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2"), and Rutger Hauer ("Batman Begins," "Blade Runner"). Beau Flynn and Tripp Vinson ("The Exorcism of Emily Rose") produced the film under their Contrafilm banner. The screenplay is by Michael Petroni ("The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader"), suggested by the book by Matt Baglio. Richard Brener, Merideth Finn and Robert Bernacchi serve as executive producers, with Mark Tuohy co-producing. New Line Cinema presents, a Contrafilm production, a Mikael Håfström film, "The Rite." The film will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company. This film has been rated PG-13 for disturbing thematic material, violence, frightening images and language including sexual references. -- (C) Warner Bros.

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Anthony Hopkins
as Father Lucas Trevant
Colin O'Donoghue
as Michael Kovak
Alice Braga
as Angeline
Ciarán Hinds
as Father Xavier
Toby Jones
as Father Matthew
Rutger Hauer
as Istvan Kovak
Ben Cheetham
as Young Michael
Rosa Pianeta
as Woman in Exorcism Video
Rosario Tedesco
as Police Officer
Anikó Vincze
as Katalin Kovak
Attila Bardóczy
as Xavier's Secretary
Nadia Kibout
as Ethnic Nun
Anita Pititto
as Vatican Nun
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Critic Reviews for The Rite

All Critics (169) | Top Critics (36)

Audience Reviews for The Rite

  • Nov 05, 2014
    The only movie on exorcism I totally recommend.
    NaWie M Super Reviewer
  • Oct 21, 2013
    "You gotta fight... for your rite... to party!" Oh man, that song is lame, though it is festive to some philistine who can't choose between rap and half-rate rock, so it's not quite fitting for a discussion about this film, which is anything but a party. Okay, maybe it's not quite as dull as they say, but it's decidedly not as thrilling as you would hope a fight between Anthony Hopkins and Satan would be, unless, of course, your expectations go augmented by the idea of it being Odin fighting Satan. I suppose that in 2011 this was supposed to be Hopkins' attempt at warming up the audience for "Thor", - the much better film dealing with gods and whatnot - or at least another exercise in filmmakers' attempting to sell a film more by getting a big-name talent attached. Hopkins' role really isn't that big, but hey, it's not like they were going to sell this film all that well on the name of Rutger Hauer, or the director, Mikael Håfström. I'd say that's a shame, considering that I like "1408" so much, but the fact that this film about someone challenging Satan himself for the greater good of humanity is not nearly as exciting as John Cusack hanging out in a hotel room and worrying about ghosts should tell you that Håfström is getting rusty as a storytelling, or at least that this premise has become tired. That's right, folks, it's yet another Mikael Håfström film about a skeptic whose faith goes restored the hard way, with demon hauntings, now with extra dullness, and while that's not to say that this film is all that disengaging, it is to say that not all is "rite" here (I'm sorry, but I just had to). Perhaps the film's weakest aspect is Michael Petroni's script, which, even then, stands to be messier, yet is still mighty flawed, even with such relatively little things as dialogue, which is often clichéd, - with limited subtlety and believability - and sometimes backs comic relief that is not only frequently fall-flat, if not a little trite, but very detrimental to the tonal coherency of this conceptually very serious film. The film is a tonal mess more often than it should be, and unevenness hardly ends there, and yet, if nothing else is consistent about this film, it is familiarity, because even though there's some potential for uniqueness within this story concept, the execution of this subject matter is undercut by many a generic element, whether it be within characterization, or mythology handling, or plotting. The film may be aimless, but it's not hard to figure out where things eventually lead to, because so little uniqueness is implemented into this messy film, whose predictability would perhaps be easier to ignore if storytelling didn't limp along its familiar path. I give the film's story concept for potential, but really, there's a certain minimalism to this subject matter, with limited attention to action, and plenty of attention to meanderings that, in execution, get pretty carried away, as Petroni's plot structuring gets to be pretty repetitious under the overwhelming pressure of filler that drags on and on, and blands things up enough on its own, without atmospheric pacing problems. Perhaps the film isn't quite as draggy as I make it sound, but it feels really draggy, and for that, blame has to be placed, not on Petroni, but director Mikael Håfström, whose very atmospheric storytelling works more often, or at least more considerably, than many are saying, but, as you can imagine, runs out of material to soak up on a number of occasions, leaving all of the dry quietness to devolve into atmospheric cold spells which distance quite often, and sometimes downright bore. Again, the film isn't as dull as they say, but it's still pretty dull, and while bland spells are compensated enough for me to give a little more credit to this film than the usual critic, there's not a whole lot here worth remembering, as well as quite a bit to complain about. This, of course, results in an underwhelming film that may even be threatened by mediocrity, but doesn't quite collapse out of likability, at least not for me, for I found enough to latch onto to be endeared, even when it came to visual style... to a certain degree. Now, I'm practically trying to fill time by rambling on about Ben Davis' cinematography because, quite frankly, it's not that outstanding, but it's still reasonably worth mentioning, as Davis' taste in bleak, almost sparse lighting has a handsome drabness to it that, when played up in just the right environment, compliments the film's gritty tone and draws you into this world, kind of like the performances. People are giving heat to leading man Colin O'Donoghue for his first performance in a theatrical feature, calling him bland and unassured, and while I will say that the most impressive aspect of O'Donoghue's performance is arguably his impeccable American accent (What is up with the Irish doing a particularly good job of obscuring a brick-thick accent in this day and age, Saoirse Ronan?), I feel that he makes for a decent leading man, with dramatic highlights, and yet, up until the final act that really offers O'Donoghue material to play up, it's certain supporting performances that really earn your attention, with Anthony Hopkins being both thoroughly charismatic and near-movingly layered in his portrayal of a well-experienced, but still flawed priest who still has many pressing trials to face as a human opponent of the Devil. The onscreen talent is there, more so than they say, and it does justice to improvable characterization, maybe even to the point of doing a good bit to get this messily told story by, which isn't to say that the film's substance doesn't have some meat to do right by in the first place. The film's story concept is improvable, and its interpretation in Michael Petroni's script and, to a lesser extent, Mikael Håfström's direction, is even more so, but there's still potential here, for although this story isn't terribly bright, it's more intelligent than I feared, with an intriguing, if somewhat familiar mythology, as well as some intriguing ambiguities to plot structuring. Okay, perhaps the plot structuring is a touch too ambiguous for its own good, to where you end up with limpness, punctuated by only so much in the way of pay-off, but the fact of the matter is that there is still some potential here, and enough justice is done to it to keep the aimless opus going, at least for me. Mikael Håfström's direction is improvable, as I said earlier, but the man appears to be an underappreciated horror director, and while this film is far from as inspired as the genuinely strong "1408", I strongly disagree with the Rotten Tomatoes consensus' boast that the film suffers from a "lack of chills", because when Håfström's atmosphere finally comes up with material to soak up, tension ensues, often in the form of mere intrigue, and sometimes in the form of intensity, maybe even scares, but either way as a height in engagement value that never falls too far for me. It's not until a, for me, generally pretty strong final act of this meandering, nearly two-hour-long "thriller" when tensions really heat up, and I can't promise that you'll be patient enough with this film to make it to, or at least be all that invested at that point, but for me, no matter how much the film limps along, intrigue never slips so far that I couldn't stick with the potential and genuinely well-done aspects in execution enough to find a decent final product, regardless of the many shortcomings. In conclusion, questionable dialogue and comic relief prove to be almost as glaring as such other writing issues as conventions, as well as dragging whose being made even more glaring by many an atmospheric cold spells allows you to soak up enough natural shortcomings for the aimless final product to collapse into underwhelmingness, maybe even to the brink of mediocrity, but through a handsome and sometimes thematically complimentary visual style, inspired performances, - particularly by a show-stealing Anthony Hopkins - and a directorial performance whose effectiveness ranges from intriguing to very tense behind a reasonably promising, if minimalist story concept, Mikael Håfström's "The Rite" perseveres as a decent and sometimes very engaging religious thriller, in spite of missteps that some might not be able to forgive as well as me. 2.5/5 - Fair
    Cameron J Super Reviewer
  • Jan 13, 2013
    Once again Anthony Hopkins plays that cranked out dude this time as a priest. Based on true facts. excellent movie 5 stars
    Bruce B Super Reviewer
  • Dec 31, 2011
    As good as Anthony Hopkins is, this movie is really just trying to be The Exorcist in the Vatican.There is the main character who is a skeptic, the experienced exorcist who must persuade him to believe in a higher power, and of course a young girl who is possessed by the Devil. One part that really annoyed me was when the two leads were performing an exorcism, then Hopkins gets a phone call and walks away to answer it, leaving the possessed child on the other side of the room, as if that call was more important than the exorcism he was just performing. It lacks the creepiness and originality of The Exorcist, and has a weak lead actor to boot. Colin O'Donoghue always sounds unconvincing, and it's especially obvious amidst a cast of fairly good actors. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone, it's essentially just a weak remake of The Exorcist.
    Joey S Super Reviewer

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