The Rite could have been closer to decent if they’d just cut off the first 45 minutes. There’s this Priest played by some guy who looks like Martin Landau’s face stretched over Freddie Prinze Jr.’s skull. He’s a seminarian who wants to quit for lack of faith. So there’s a couple scenes with the guy who played Truman Capote in the english version of the Truman Capote story (I believe he was also the “psychologist” sent in to talk Arnold Schwarzenegger down in Total Recall. The one who sweated.) I think his specialty is delivering unbelievable dialogue with credibility. He sends our bland skeptic to Rome, where the guy who plays Snapes has a couple scenes before he sends him to Anthony Hopkins. That’s two well acted priests too much. The whole thing could have started at Anthony Hopkins front porch.
There are also countless flashbacks within flashbacks to LandauPrinze’s unhappy childhood, just so the devil can know stuff he’s not supposed to know.
Hopkins is always fun to watch, and he holds up this dog for a good twenty minutes. When he gets possessed, there’s a couple scenes of LandauPrinze and this girl journalist trying to get hold of the Snapesguy, so it’s like, cool, Snapesguy and Hopkins in an exorcism scene, but no, that’s just another time waster, and LandauPrinze has to perform the exorcism himself.
Prayer prayer snarled revelation of stuff Anthony Hopkins isn’t supposed to know, prayer prayer exorcism. And it turns out it’s all a true story, which of course means that none of it is true.