Monthly Archives: October 2011
The first thing that I was wondering when the credits rolled was if, in anyway, ‘The Vatican’ was involved in the production of ‘The Rite’? This is the kind of genre that scares the bejesus out of me! It’s, in a lot of ways, similar to ‘The Exorcist’, one because both are about exorcisms; secondly because the element of thrill that’s portrayed in both the movies originates from the same source, “despair”.
The movie starts with an avouchment:
“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 movie is supposed to be inspired by true events and follows the story of Michael Kovak, a skeptic seminary student, who is sent to do a course in exorcism at the Vatican. It’s all about how he gains his faith. The story of a non-believer transforming into a believer is a common cliché in movies. It’s no different here. But what stands out here is the story itself and, of course, the legend of Anthony Hopkins. His role and his hefty presence in the movie makes “The Rite” so powerful that it’ll shake the very foundation of your beliefs.
In that sense, it is very much similar to ‘The Exorcism of Emily Rose’, which again was based a true story. Even though I’m a skeptic myself, I still am a bit daunted when my watch is reading 3 AM, which is supposed to be the time of demonic possessions as depicted in the movie, contrary to the popular belief in India that midnight is the time when the devil wanders.
There are no such scenes in the movie that’ll make you jump out of your seats. If you love cheap thrills, this is not the one for you. There are movies that you watch, have a nice time, and come back home; and there are those from which you take home a part of the ideas pictured and it stays with you for quite a while. ‘The Rite’ is a perfect example.
“Failure to believe in the devil will not protect you from the devil”. That’s one of the bone-chilling dialogues in the movie. I think the desperation to find an explanation made me wonder if ‘The Vatican’ was involved in the project anyway. ‘The Rite’ is directed by Mikael Håfström, whose ‘1408’ wasn’t that impressive, but this time he manages to entwine a good thriller.
All in all, ‘The Rite’ is much more than an entertainer. It falls into the categories of films that make you think, in this case, of your sins that you’ve committed in your past, and in some way or the other dread keeps creeping into your mind at regular intervals. A lot of people may find the perception different, but for me, since I’m a skeptic, and so was the protagonist in the movie, it just made instant connection, and it worked.
Conclusion: I can’t stick a must-watch tag for this one because exorcism is a very controversial practice that some people may find very hard to digest, but for doubters like me, it is a definite thrill ride. But then it hardly takes a second for a believer to be skeptic and vice versa .