Anthony Hopkins is diabolic in The Rite (2011)
Anthony Hopkins or more politically correct, Sir Anthony, is a brilliant actor and it doesn’t matter which role he plays – he always does it with high standards befitting his title. However, his roles as villains seem to have a more provocative and lasting impression, as seen in Fracture and The Silence of the Lambs.
In the 2011 supernatural thriller, The Rite, he plays, Father Lucas Trevant, a Jesuit priest who after performing countless exorcisms becomes possessed himself. It then becomes the responsibility of hesitant seminarian, Michael Kovak (Colin O’Donoghue), to exorcise the demon. Unfortunately, it requires faith – strong faith – something Kovak is lacking.
Hopkins’ portrayal of villains never ceases to amaze me. He has a certain look, especially the eyes, which seem to inspire villainy.
In Fracture, he shoots his wife and nearly gets away with some brilliant planning. However, his most terrifying character would have been the cannibal Hannibal in The Silence of the Lambs. In all these films, his eyes (and face) seem to give the impression of a very dark character. The supporting performance by O’Donoghue is to some degree a mirror of Hopkins’ performance.
O’Donoghue, who plays Michael Kovak, a young man who enters the seminary as an escape from his neighborhood, also has a certain look in the eyes, almost blank. This, with kudos to the casting, provides an insight into the character. It is as if he is dead inside. Now, if you are trying to compare this film to other exorcism movies, don’t. The main plot is around Michael’s faith and struggle and takes place in Rome where he is sent to study exorcism.
The film was adapted from The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist by Matt Baglio and directed by Swedish director, Mikael Håfström. It is purportedly based on actual events.
Håfström also directed 1408, a 2007 supernatural thriller which was written by Stephen King and stared John Cusak with Samuel L Jackson.