The Pope’s Exercist Not Worth Viewing

Carly Johnson, Staff writer

 In his original 1973 review of The Exorcist, Roger Ebert praised the casting of the character actor Max von Sydow as the older priest battling evil. The Pope’s Exorcist stars Russell Crowe as Father Gabriele Amorth, a theologian, journalist, and book author who is also the Pope’s chosen exorcist. Amorth is a clever, and tough priest who addresses each task with passion. Instead of pistols, rifles, and hunting knives, he carries an exorcism kit with crucifixes and holy water in a backpack. The film follows Amorth as he travels to a run-down chapel in Spain to remove an evil spirit from the body of a young boy. It’s advertised as a horror film, but it’s more busy and impatient than creepy and scary, especially when it jumps between different scenes of action in the chapel and back at the Vatican. It’s ultimately a religious action film with Western implications about an aging gunslinger who teams up with an untrained partner to save women and children from an awful enemy. Julia, a widowed mother of two whose husband died in a car accident two years ago, leaves her previous abbey, which she hopes to resell in order to pay off family debts, is played by Alex Essoe. Julia has a teen daughter named Amy (Laurel Marsden) who is a rebel, and a 12-year-old son named Henry (Peter DeSouza-Feighoney) who becomes a host for supernatural evil. Crowe makes the film worthwhile to see. He portrays Amorth as a conceited cut-up, responding to insults with a smirk and snappy responses.  Crowe nails the character’s dry, stinging wit. He becomes even more interesting when he shows the audience the priest’s insecurities. Crowe has been so successful for so long that he plays this part as if he has nothing to prove (despite the fact that the character does). He messes around and adds unexpected actions and responses that brighten up a scene. But he never goes so far as to seem to be mocking the film. Crowe plays it straight when Amorth reveals his own mental suffering in a chain of memories, suffering. He appears to be at the same point that Paul Newman reached in the early 1970s, when his hair turned silver and he lost most of his ego. He is no longer suffering for his art. Even when the scene is serious, he is having a good time. Rotten tomatoes gave this film a 50% Tomatometer, and an 82% audience score so a decent amount of people liked this movie. I didn’t really care for it. I thought it was more boring than scary and it gave me no fear whatsoever just like a horror movie is supposed to do. In conclusion it’s a waste of time, the actors are good but the movie itself just sucks. I give it a 5/10 and don’t recommend it.