The Rite (15)

Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Colin O'Donoghue
Click to follow
The Independent Culture

The Devil may have all the best tunes, but this exorcism thriller won't count as one of his greatest gigs.

Seminary student Michael Kovak (Colin O'Donoghue) is undergoing a crisis of faith, so his superiors, contrary to all logic, pack him off to the Vatican to study at their exorcism school. He's taken under the wing of a maverick priest and demon-wrangler, Father Lucas (Anthony Hopkins), whose latest case is the possession of a pregnant – and terrified – young woman.

"Choosing not to believe in the Devil won't protect you from him," Lucas tells the doubting novice, but more pertinent is whether we choose to believe in Hopkins as he rages, gurns and spouts like a boyo from the Welsh Valleys, and even takes a call on his mobile mid-exorcism. Was it his agent? Ciarán Hinds, Toby Jones and Rutger Hauer are wasted in idle roles, while Old Nick himself fails to raise any sort of Hell you haven't seen before. At the end, we're informed that the priests are based on real-life figures, as if that would make this hokum any more believable.