In the past I wondered whether they were running out of titles for movies that take place on submarines. Now I’m wondering whether they’re running out of titles for exorcism movies. This latest one is called The Rite, and it lives down to that uninspired title in every possible way.
Michael Kovak (Colin O’Donoghue) is a seminary student from Chicago who’s having second thoughts about taking his final vows for the priesthood as he prepares to graduate. Anxious to keep him in the profession, a mentor assigns him to take a course at the Vatican designed to teach the clergy about the rites of exorcism. Michael’s skepticism about Satan and his minions gets him referred to Father Lucas (Anthony Hopkins), a loose-cannon Welsh priest who lives in Rome and drives evil spirits out of the locals. The encounter is supposed to give Michael the proof he’s looking for, but he finds Father Lucas to be a cranky and easily distractible old man. Indeed, his cell phone goes off while he’s busy conducting an exorcism on a pregnant teenager (Marta Gastini). With the girl writhing on the floor and cursing at him in languages she doesn’t know, the priest takes the call. We never find out who was on the other end. Was it God?