I have decided to not do "reviews". Like everyone that is absolutely addicted to just about all types of films, I cannot talk enough film. There are times when I have lost track of time while talking film, yes I have been in conversations that have lasted that long while in full discussion about film. I am talking several hours. I have had those debates with loved ones over some minute detail of a really mid-level film and have it go from, "What did you think of it?" to "I will burn your car!" Basically, I am like a lot you, I can't get enough film, even on the Internet. This created a dilemma that I thought would be solved by writing regular reviews on my own blog and discussing/debating it with heavy minded movie people. As I sat down to really pound out the first "review" I realized there are two issues. One,I myself am not influenced by reviews. If I read/hear a review before I see a film I never, ever let it deter me from seeing a film that I would like to no matter how poor the feedback is. That's the point of film...to see it and decide if you like it. Not to let someone else watch it for you. And secondly, I wouldn't want to deter someone else from seeing a film because I had a less that spectacular experience while watching it.
The conclusion that I came to was that a review is pointless. If you haven't seen a film yet then a review will ruin it as one has to discuss major points of the film. And if you have seen the film, then a review is not something you need as you already have an opinion of it. It's more or less a pat on the back if you agree with the reviewer. Gold star for you, you agree with someone who has gotten a job as a film reviewer. That's why they give them star ratings, I guess.
So instead, I will share my experience while watching a film. Therefore I will be ruining the films for anyone who hasn't seen it yet as I am going to write about anything and everything having to do with the film. It is probably best to be read after seeing the film. I would love to hear what you think of my writings. If you do disagree, bring it on, I would love to have a civil debate. So I will call these non-reviews "scans".
According to the dictionary a scan is:
1. to examine the particulars or points of minutely; scrutinize. 2.to peer out at or observe repeatedly or sweepingly, as a large expanse;survey. 3. to analyze (verse) as to its prosodic or metrical structure; read or recite(verse) so as to indicate or test the metrical form.I will need to change my header and page titles and remove "reviews". So here goes my first "scan"...
So I was about all of two minutes into this film and I realized something. All films about exorcism are basically "green puke and heads turning around." Well, maybe not exactly that (although many do have exactly that) but all of the typical cliches. Bad decay makeup, the perfunctory convulsing on a bed, a deep voice in an ancient language coming out of a girl, the played out special effect of something moving under the skin of the possessed. And this film had all that. And I knew it would. They all do. In fact, there was puke, although not green.
Then came the punchline. Anthony Hopkins plays a venerable exorcist who is, by the way, working a regular set of possessed people who come in for their weekly exorcism and colonic and then go back to their lives until next week's appointment. Okay, I was joking about the colonic but he really did see regular "patients" who were POSSESSED BY THE DEVIL. I never thought demonic possession as a chronic condition. Anyway, he is trying to convince the young priest who is disbelieving in demonic possession that it was real, and not like the movies, " There will be no spinning heads and pea soup." Later that night, I asked my wife if she was repeating that back from the press release. She wasn't. Its just that vomiting and contortion are so synonymous with exorcism movies that its one of the first things that enters the mind when they are discussed.
Which is something that really bugs me. I absolutely hate when film narratives take a ridiculous leap in logic. I call it "movie logic." In this case the young priest has decided to leave the church as he was only there to escape his father. So what does the church do, they send him the The Vatican to study EXORCISM? Yep, they give him a cherry assignment where he lacks the key element needed to do the job. I mean if there is one place where you really should have faith is when you are performing exorcisms, I suspect. I mean, if you are the church and you are dealing with the devil himself taking over a living persons body, right near the Vatican no less, wouldn't you send the most dedicated, righteous man that you have an not someone who is taking the job in lieu of resigning. It's the devil we are talking about here, wouldn't the church have a competent eye on that?
So the film carried on through the standard early signs of possession to a full on exorcism battle finale all while framed in the old, " Is this real? Do you have faith? What do YOU think?", heavy handedness.
There were a few cool images here and there. A red eyed mule created a nice image. The scenery in Rome is awesome, but the nice look of the film was not enough for me to forget the predictability and other flaws of the film.
What else...oh, Rutger Hauer is in it as the young priest's father. He is only in it for a few moments so I am not really sure what the value of having Hauer in it for such a short time.
So there it is. My first "scan" for the blog. I wish it was on something that will go on to be historic or at least great but I still like to talk about it. What did you think of The Rite? Use the comments section to sound off.