Feature

The Rite

Anthony Hopkins plays a priest in Rome who specializes in extricating demons.

Directed by Mikael Hafstrom
(PG-13)

*

The young Irish actor who plays the protagonist in this goofy exorcism thriller is not the reason people might be tempted to see it, said Bill Goodykoontz in The Arizona Republic. The chance to see Anthony Hopkins “trot out his Hannibal Lecter act” is another matter, and the former Oscar winner doesn’t disappoint. Hopkins is always “fun to watch” when he’s over-the-top, and he’s “way over-the-top” here as a priest in Rome who specializes in extricating demons. But it eventually matters that the young seminarian he’s asked to mentor “barely registers on the screen,” said Michael Phillips in the Chicago Tribune. As a would-be priest of wavering faith, Colin O’Donoghue goes for “quietly troubled” but ends up hollowing out the story’s emotional center. “What did you expect? Spinning heads? Pea soup?” asks Hopkins after performing one fairly routine satanic expulsion. He’s right, said Andrew O’Hehir in Salon.com. No one expected The Rite to be The Exorcist. Even if it’s merely an odd blend of “slow-burning horror flick” and “Vatican recruitment video,” at least it’s “mostly a watchable one.”

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