>the rite stuff

Posted on June 1, 2011

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the rite’ is not your basic horror movie. in fact i would say it’s more of a supernatural thriller, and this is not a brainless supernatural thriller. it is in fact a very religious movie.

you will find contorting bodies, weird voices, and much hissing spitting freakiness and general unpleasantness [but only 1 f-bomb and very little other bad language] but it is a movie containing exorcisms, so be warned.

the director mikael håfström [1408] presents a genuine portrayal of a christian view of the spirit world and the devil is portrayed with cunning and as a deceiver. the movie does not shy away or water down the faith and beliefs of those involved, and the theology is treated seriously. obviously there are some added dramatic effects as you would expect [creepy cats and shadows etc], but this does not take away from this story of a doubting priest and his exorcising friend and scene stealer, sir hopkins. in fact the trailer implies that the movie is about hopkins’ character, but it is not. the “inspired by true events” story is about a young man called michael kovak, who follows the path to become a priest simply to escape the family business of embalming the dead [btw – it’s great to see rutger hauer back on the big screen]. at the end of his four years of study he is expected to take the priestly vows, but he has no plans to do so as he is unsure of what he believes in. since the death of his mother when he was a boy he has doubted the existence of god and all that goes with it, and prefers to try and explain everything away scientifically or through reason.

however, a fellow priest senses his internal conflict and recommends he spend some time at the vatican, where he is placed in the tutorage of an old welsh exorcist named lucas. lucas’ role is simply to convince the doubting priest that the spiritual realm is real and alive and kicking.

this might be a strange thing to say but i think christians will get the most out of this movie, or youth leaders who are looking for a springboard for discussions with older teens.

it’s incredibly well made, very foreboding and often scary. But it is slow and ponderous for a reason, and that is because it is about the priest’s journey and not specifically the horror he encounters.

ultimately it is rare for a movie to present us with a genuine faith journey toward belief in jesus christ, and for that reason alone, you can’t go wrong with ‘the rite’!

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