Film challenges faith and psyche

Anthony Hopkins, Collin O’ Donoghue, and Alice Braga star in the new supernatural thriller, “The Rite,” which is based on true events, and is directed by Mikael Håfström. After using the seminary to run away from his troubled past, Michael Kovak (Donoghue) is sent to Rome to study the ritual of exorcism under an unorthodox, but highly effective priest named Father Lucas Trevant, (Hopkins.) Michael, at every turn, is challenging the topic of demonic possession, thinking the answer to the victim’s problems lies in psychology. “It’s not the devil. She’s a very sick girl. She doesn’t need a priest, she needs a shrink.” Michael says after witnessing a demon manifest in a 16-year-old girl. Through struggles with his own faith, and accompanied by a beautiful reporter named Angeline (Braga), young Michael is met with the reality that his scientific, realistic world view is always trying to thwart – that demons really do exist. The portayal of the demonically possessed in the film is truly chilling in the sense that it is subtle. The usual hollywood gimics like possessed people climbing on walls, eyes changing color, etc. are not in the movie. Neither do the possessed burn when they are touched by holy water or crucifixes and or rosaries. I would not exactly label this movie as another “horror” movie. The film has a few “grab-the-arm-of-your-chair,” moments, but it is not overdone. The film is very character based and emotionally driven. The emphasis of the film’s message is that the battle between good and evil does in fact rage on every day, and only a solid faith in God can truly overcome demonic forces. Hopkin’s character, Father Lucas says to Michael in the movie, “The interesting thing about skeptics…is that we are always looking for proof. The question is, what on earth would we do if we found it?” This movie is one worth seeing.