Sunday, February 6, 2011

Movie review: 'The Rite' Critiqued by a Catholic Paranormal Investigator

Ask anyone what kind of movies I enjoy...and they'll answer 'I honestly don't know.' However the correct answer to that question is that I LOVE ALL KINDS OF MOVIES. If it is well done or that it is of something of interest to me, I will gladly watch it. Oh who am I kidding...I like poorly done movies that have gotten bad reviews as well. {I do own Spice World: The Spice Girls movie, after all}One of my favorite genre of movies however are horror movies. Blood and guts splashing across the screen does not bother me. What does make me cover my eyes, and jump instead is that which is more psychological or has to deal with the paranormal....or more importantly...evil spirits.
     Funny, right? This revelation coming from someone who partakes in paranormal investigating. A woman who knows that there is such a thing as life after death, and has even experienced and interacted with those who are no longer of the living. But with the good (spirits) there are bad...ask anyone who has been in the field of paranormal research, and is a seasoned veteran. Regardless of what your religious belief is you will find stories about those who are not of the light, who seek to mislead and harm the living, and even like to torment those who are not living. For those of us who are paranormal researchers, when we partake in an investigation, we put up protection for ourselves and our team members. There are various methods and ways to do this: offering up prayer, wearing blessed medals, carrying crystals, the use of sage before and after an investigation...the methods of protecting yourself are countless, and vary on your beliefs. The most important thing in investigating is putting up your protection so you do not fall under attack by a (not necessarily evil) spirit, but also protect you from having it follow you home.
     I've swayed from the topic of this blog tonight, but just wanted to drive home how important it is to protect yourself when dealing actively with the spirit realm. Even if you do not participate in paranormal investigating, should try and offer up a prayer. (I don't mean to come off as a holy roller) but just remember that the greatest trick the Devil ever pulled off was to have man forget the he exists.Which brings us (finally) to my review of the movie 'The Rite' starring Sir Anthony Hopkins. New Line Cinema released this film on January 28, 2011 and it closed the weekend in the # 1 slot. I have to say that it is now ranked among my favorite movies. Not because of it being a horror movie, or because (the awesome) Sir Anthony Hopkins is in it. But because I believe that this film is one made with integrity, hard work, and is the most truth-based film which is about possession I have ever seen. I am not sure what the mass public will make of it, or will understand the truth to it.I fear that it will become a movie which is swept under the carpet and overlooked by film critics and snobs because it isn't a thrill-a-minute film or a mockumentry such as 'Paranormal Entity'.
     Colin O'Donoghue plays the young seminarian Michael Kovak who is not quite sure of his place in the world. Should he do the right thing, and stay in the family business, or 'escape' by the only means he has and join the seminary. As a seminarian, he questions his actions, questions his faith, and seems even more unsure of his place in the world. Although critics berated Mr. O'Donoghue's performance in this film, I believe he played the roll perectly. Yes, he did not eat up his scenes with Anthony Hopkins (but then again who could?) He was very subdued, and I think that a person in his position would not be very verbose and larger than life. The scenes where 'Michael Kovak' is very nearly beaten and has to dig deep in himself not to lose his battle, you can really see and sense the emotions rolling off  Colin O'Donoghue. You want to cheer and give him a hug. And other times when he will not admit to what his eys see, and he denies what he expierences you just want to slap hm. Knowing several gentlemen who have gone through the seminary and have become fine priest's...I know what their school work is like, and the psychological evaluations and strain they are put under. Between the script and the performance of Colin O'Donoghue I thought they captured it very well.
     SIR ANTHONY HOPKINS is simply genius, as usual. His emotions are all over the place, from quiet and scholarly to pompous and arrogant to out right scary, to very humbling. There is nothing you can give this man that he can not pull off...so I will not go in to rantings on how superb he was. I will say that for those of you who do love 'Dr Hannibal Lector', there is a scene in the end which is just as delicious as our old friend 'Dr. Lector'. I believe Hopkin's portrayal of Father Lucas Trevant in 'The Rite' was spot on, for those who have seen the evil and had to battle it. People who perform exorcisms and banishing, I have found are both eccentric and strong. They have seen the ugliness which exists, and fight it...and after awhile it wears them down. Once again, the script and Hopkins performance nail this on the head.
     For someone who goes in to the theater to see 'The Rite' and expect to see pea soup spewing actors, and people crawling across ceilings, you're going to be disappointed. The special effects in the film do not quite go to that extent. But do not be fooled. Bodies are twisted and contorted in to unnatural angles, and there is several special effects makeup scenes. The film which is based on true events is outright horrifying. Because it shoes you how the Devil can wear someone down, and plays on your weaknesses and insecurities. This film is scary because it makes you face the truth that evil does indeed exist. It is equally frightening on a visual and psychological level.
     What was even more frightening to me was the fact that a a set of parents brought their small children to see the film. And when I say small children, I am talking ages 6-10 years old. Before the film started the mother was saying to the kids 'this isn't going to be scary.' and then when the movie ended she asked them 'see you weren't scared, right?' Dude, I am almost 35 years old and I was scared in scenes! But I was scared for these kids. Why the hell would their parents bring them to a rated R movie...and one which is based on demonic possesson? And what the heck was going through this woman's head, to think that the possibility of this happening was not scary? I had wanted to catch up with her, to ask her..but they left the theater before I could have gotten the chance to. Perhaps that was for the better. Either way...go see this film. You will not be disappointed.

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