The Rite Is Mostly Wrong

Anthony Hopkins, Michael O'Donoghue star in exorcism flick
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 28, 2011 11:52 AM CST

Though it does a thing or two right, most critics are panning The Rite, the story of a young priest who heads to exorcism school and apprentices under Anthony Hopkins. Whatever your expectations, just don’t expect innovation:

  • The film is an “overwrought thriller with a surfeit of solemnity and the devil's own sound design,” writes Joe Morgenstern in the Wall Street Journal. The screenplay is “ponderous enough to banish Oscar anxiety for all concerned,” and by the final battle, “you're ready to give the devil whatever due it takes to get The Rite over and done with.”
  • The Rite has Lou Lumenick wishing for pea soup and spinning heads. Instead, "this threadbare and risible rehash of The Exorcist," presents "a donkey with glowing red eyes, a plague of frogs, a pregnant woman spitting up railroad bolts ... and a scenery-chewing Anthony Hopkins," he writes for the New York Post.

  • “While it delivers what I suppose should be called horror, it is atmospheric, its cinematography is eerie and evocative, and the actors enrich it,” counters Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times. “I found myself drawn in.”
  • In the Chicago Tribune, Michael Phillips takes a middle ground. The movie “delivers the expected, but with panache,” he writes. “The supporting cast is unusually strong,” but young star Michael O’Donoghue, “barely registers onscreen.”
(Read more movie review stories.)

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