The Rite (2011)

“I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

The Rite

Warner Bros. Pictures in association with New Line Cinema and TriBeCa Productions present…

Based from the book of Journalist Matt Baglio titled “The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist” which was published on March 10, 2009. So what does exorcism mean? As discussed by the Author it comes from the Greek word exorkizo which means “to bind with an oath” or “to demand insistently” with this insight he was able to delve deeper into his research when he came across a class in Pontifical Regina Apostolorum University that teaches about exorcism. Here, he met Father Gary Thomas a Priest from California who was asked by his Bishop to travel to Rome and be able to study further this phenomenon in this modern age, to strengthen his faith and abandon his scepticism!

The scriptures states: qui sequitur me, non ambulat in tenebris, sed habebit lumen vitae! A man prepares a dead woman, cautious while doing his job as he was about to finish, he saw a tattoo of a devil and gave it an ambivalent look that suggest was it something to ponder on or just out of curiosity!

Directed by Swedish Mikael Håfström (Evil), he was able to tackle something that was genuinely thought provoking but most importantly it was something real and not being based simply by fantasy or fiction! Examining one’s faith, finding oneself, learning what is truly going on with the world and that demonic possession still does exist! The impact of delivering its significance of these manifestations, experiences of different people and for those who lived to tell the tale of their horrific encounters with the devil himself has given levity on Roman Catholicism and their continuous journey to spread the word of God and his works so that people will fulfill their salvation!

How ironic in which our faith brings us to a place where it crosses paths with fate leaving us with no compromise, understanding that we have been given the choice, the free will to exercise our beliefs and actions! Colin O’Donoghue (Identity) as Michael Kovak son of a mortician Rutger Hauer (Salem’s Lot) poratrays Istvan Kovak, deprived by love and losing his wife he now runs a Morgue business while Michael does the chores with resounding frustration! Four years later, he was ordained to enter priesthood which he resigned at an early stage, his Superior Toby Jones (Creation) Father Matthew sees him as someone with great potential and never gave up until he was able to convince his gifted student to enrol in an Exorcism class or go home paying his burdensome loan!

The film discusses the procedure of exorcism how it is brought about to be performed through the initiation of a designated Priest as he assesses the possessed and brings his evaluation to the Bishop who informs the Vatican and to request that this procedure can take its place. Michael seeks the truth and must find the answers to at least have that direction to where he is going.

He was sent by Father Xavier played by Ciaran Hinds (Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance) to meet Father Lucas Trevant a Welsh Jesuit from Academy Award Winner Anthony Hopkins (Hannibal) as he performs a series of exorcisms from a 16 year old pregnant woman and with a young boy, his focus in his character as usual was to die for considering his age, he can seamlessly deliver with passion and vigor! Although Ciaran and Toby are a few of my favorite actors they were just there to give Colin the motivation to get out from the darkness and step into the light!

Romulus and Remus, the twins from which the mythological foundation of Rome had originated, left to die by their Uncle Amulius, miraculously saved and suckled by a Lupa. Names are significant to the one bestowed as with titles as well, this is the same concept for the hierarchy of Angels and Demons, with an ascending manner for the former so goes also with the latter but in a descending pattern to distinguish them from one another. This is one vital point to which an exorcist can attack or weaken the entity, knowing them on a personal level grants the Priest access to their oppressor.

After their first session, feeling alone he wanders the streets like a lost soul in a strange place well at least there was some hope derived with his depravity and finds comfort in a McDonald’s Coffee, here he bumps into Angelina portrayed by Alice Braga (City of God) who seemed like a stalker since she keeps on looking at the skeptic student from their first class together. From here, she gives a bit more information of herself being a Journalist who needs to write an article and to uncover more information from Michael and his private apprenticeship with Father Lucas! Alice was forgettable here, a mere witness, not because of her acting but due to lack of screen time, there was no significance in her role until Michael read her work regarding what is really happening in Rome and around the world!

The story written by Michael Petroni (The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys) actually delivers more of the underlying presence of these practices by the Roman Catholic Church considering the speculations, the information readily available besides of course from the book that Matt Baglio had written. I did feel that the premise was not even incorporated to an actual horror or being grounded by fictionalized situations just to enhance the film but rather a testament to one’s beliefs by being able to absorb its message with less the theatrics, we can be able to understand better how good and evil battle for the souls of humanity, earning their salvation or be condemned to damnation!

There was also an angle with the partnership of the two remaining priests while the other saves his mentor so does it coincide with “ The Exorcist”, with Father Damien Karras losing also his faith was still able to help Father Lankester Merrin defeat the devil named Pazuzu after possessing a 12 year old girl named Regan. These subtle things that makes the story relatable can get you more enthusiastic or it might just the audience groan out of frustration give or take, it did not bother me at all since the performance of the two leading men were invigorating especially when Michael insults one of the Princes of Hell named Baal!

This was thoroughly engaging having someone without faith still battle the forces of evil and conquers it means something, it gives us hope, it give us the strength to move on and proclaim to these demonic creatures that we are capable to do the worst but it does not mean it ends there as long as we believe “we are not alone” as long as you have faith you will never be alone!

Keep the faith burning Father Michael…

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