Anthony Hopkins stars in a scene from the movie The Rite.

CNS PHOTO | WARNER BROS

Anthony Hopkins stars in a scene from the movie The Rite.

March 21, 2011

The latest Hollywood movie on exorcism is a reminder that the devil truly exists and wants to prevail, said the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano.

Despite the usual stereotypes in the film, "the Church is not portrayed by people who thunder anathemas or dispense dogmatic certainties, presented invariably as being mean, irritating and unbearable," the newspaper said in a March 13 article.

Priests are portrayed in a positive light, it noted.

The film's main message comes when Hopkins' character says, "Choosing not to believe in the devil won't protect you from him," the Vatican newspaper said. "The devil exists whether one believes in him or not, and he subtly works to have the upper hand."

Unfortunately, the film's interpretation of demonic possession leans excessively toward the genre of a horror movie, it said. Such a limited focus overlooks "the objectivity of a reality — possession — which is already in and of itself bloodcurdling."

But the Vatican newspaper said the story shows how a young seminarian steeped in cynicism and doubt over God's existence overcame those obstacles and rediscovered faith.

The movie shows that evil does not prevail and the film gives witness to the power of faith, it said.