Anthony Hopkins had a solid career before his iconic role as Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs. Every since then, we love to see Sir Anthony do something ‘creepy.’ It’s as if that career that came before (complete with performances of Shakespeare and Ibsen) just went ‘poof’ and disappeared. It seems as if all we know or want from Hopkins is the old ‘creepy guy’ thing.
And we are treated to creepy Hopkins in The Rite. Loosely based on a ‘true story’, Michael Kovak (Colin O'Donoghue) is the son of a creepy mortician (Rutger Hauer) who enters the priesthood to avoid a creepy future in the family business. Four years later and poised to graduate from seminary, Michael attempts to quit when he’s convinced to study exorcisms at the Vatican.
In Italy, sensing his lack of faith and his unorthodox views, one of the priest sends Michael to spend time with Father Lucas Trevant (Anthony Hopkins), a local exorcist. He observes an on-going exorcism of a pregnant teen and gets to know the priest. Things get complicated however when Father Trevant becomes the host for a powerful demon. Of course, it’s Michael who’s tasked with exorcising the good father’s demon.
To paraphrase a quote from a more famous exorcism movie, “The power of The Rite did not compel me.” In fact, it had a hard time keeping my interest. Colin O’Donoghue had absolutely no leading man charisma whether he was playing against Hopkins or potential love interest (if it wasn’t for the whole priest thing), Angelina Braga. She played a journalist taking the exorcism course for a story.
The best part of The Rite was when the actual exorcism rite was being performed on Father Trevant; everything before and after that seemed to just middle along. Most of the movie lacked any kind of real energy or potent scares.