The Pope's Exorcist Review
The Pope's Exorcist, a 2023 American supernatural horror film directed by Julius Avery is based on Father Gabriele Amorth's 1990 book "An Exorcist Tells His Story" and the 1992 book "An Exorcist: More Stories." Russell Crowe played the role of Amorth, and the movie also starred Franco Nero, Daniel Zovatto, and Alex Essoe in supporting roles. "Screen Gems" bought the rights to Amorth's story in 2020 and began producing it. The Filming took place in Ireland from August to October 2022, after director change and script modifications.
The Pope's Exorcist was released globally on April 5, 2023, and in the United States on April 14, 2023. Critics gave mixed reviews to the film, which has grossed $74 million worldwide.
Plot of The Pope's Exorcist
In 1987, Father Gabriele Amorth, the Pope's exorcist, traveled to an Italian village where a man claimed to be possessed by a demon. Along with the local priest, Amorth entered the room where the man is held captive. Amorth attempts the demon to possess a pig by exorcising him with the sacramental Saint Benedict Medal. When that happens, the pig will be shot with a shotgun. Amorth is an issue with the Church tribunal because he does exorcisms without approval from superiors. The African Bishop, one of the tribunal members named Lumumba, defends Amorth, but Cardinal Sullivan is skeptical about demonic possession. Amorth argues about the existence of evil and says he does not perform an exorcism. Instead, he only did psychological theatre to help the mentally sick guy. Amorth leaves the tribunal. The Pope orders Amorth to move to Spain to examine a possessed child named Henry. After Julia's husband died in an automobile accident in which Henry also was included, Henry, his mother Julia, and his teenage sister Amy left America in search of Julia's husband's only left legacy. Henry has not spoken since he was traumatized by the injury in the accident. Workers rebuild the abbey after a fire so family members can sell it. Henry begins to act strangely, and supernatural happenings begin to emerge.
Henry's medical examination reveals nothing abnormal. Diabolically possessed, Henry begs a priest; when a local Father, Tomas Esquibel, arrives, Henry's demon mocks him. Amorth arrives and hires Esquibel as his assistant, even though Esquibel is unskilled as an exorcist. Esquibel is aware of Amorth but has not read any of his writings. Amorth thinks they are fine. Amorth believes in the power of prayer, even when Esquibel makes mistakes as an assisting exorcist, such as strangling Henry when he antagonizes and mocks him for his sins. The two make an unsuccessful attempt to exorcise Henry. Henry's demon occasionally possesses Amy. According to Amorth, Julia has never been a religious devotee since she was a child. Nonetheless, once she reveals that her Guardian Angel saved her in her youth, he persuades her to pray. While examining documentation about the Spanish case in Rome, the Pope felt unwell and got hospitalized. Amorth discovers a well on the abbey grounds that leads to a complex that the Church has walled up. He discovers that an exorcist, a founder of the Spanish Inquisition, was possessed, which made him allow the Devil to enter the Church. Amorth also discovers that the Church covered everything up, and he ultimately learns the name of Henry's demon, Asmodeus. Amorth and Esquibel take part in the ritual of Confession and Absolution, admitting and forgiving each other's sins. In gratitude, Amorth, an Italian partisan who survived WWII, decided to serve God. When a mentally sick woman approached Amorth for assistance, his pride prevented him from assisting her, and she committed suicide. Esquibel had an affair with a teenage girl whom he did not marry. Amorth instructs Esquibel to put on a Miraculous Medal necklace while the two prepare. They experience horrific visions of the woman they failed during the exorcism. Exorcism only works if Amorth agrees to be possessed. Amorth commits suicide, but a demon intervenes, intending to enter and wreck the Church through Amorth.
On the other hand, Esquibel assists Amorth in driving Asmodeus back into Hell. The Pope and Henry both recover. When the jubilant team arrives in Rome, they discover that Sullivan has left and has been replaced by Lumumba. Lumumba admits Amorth and Esquibel to a particular Church archive and informs them that they will visit 199 additional bad sites to confront the Devil. Amorth battles the Devil with the help of an outline he obtained at the abbey. Amorth says that he, as well as Esquibel, will go to Hell. Finally, text on the screen indicates Amorth's career, including his numerous works and the truth that "the books are good," before a portrait of the genuine Amorth appears.
Review of The Pope's Exorcist
In his original 1973 review of "The Exorcist," Roger Ebert remarked how suited it was to cast Max von Sydow as the elder priest facing evil: "He has been through multiple spiritual and metaphysical challenges. Ingmar Bergman's films almost seem to belong on a philosophical battlefield the way John Wayne belongs on a horse." Russell Crowe stars in "The Pope's Exorcist" as Father Gabriele Amorth, a theologian, book author, journalist, and the Pope's authorized exorcist. Amorth is a cunning, challenging, and wisecracking priest who pursues each new mission with the zeal of a gunslinger. Instead of weapons, rifles, and hunting weapons, he carries an exorcism kit in a saddlebag-sized case, complete with crucifixes and holy water. His mount is a red-and-white scooter that is amusing despite being considered too small for Crowe's impulsive character actor body. Amorth has on taking a little whisky flask to ease his itchy throat. He's written and acted like one of those ironic, hard-bitten badasses portrayed in 1960s Westerns by aging but still popular action performers like Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster, and John Wayne. Their characters exposed the hypocrisies of so-called civilization while defending it. They'd seen everything, but they could still be surprised. The film follows Amorth as he travels to a run-down abbey located in rural Spain to evict a demon from the body of a young child. Julius Avery ("Overlord") directed the film, which is based on a story related to a documentary by "Exorcist" director William Friedkin. It's published as a horror picture, but it's more frantic and impatient than creepy and terrifying, wildly when it swings back and forth between parallel lines of action at abbey and then back at the Vatican (where Franco Nero plays the Pope, who suspects more than a conventional possession is going on). It's ultimately a religious action film with elements of a classic Western about an aging gunslinger who joins forces with a young but naive companion (Daniel Zovatto's Father, Esquibel) to protect women and children from a horrible enemy.
Alex portrays Julia Essoe, a single mother of two whose partner died in a car accident two years earlier, leaving her the abbey, that she plans to renovate and sell to pay off her familial debts. Julia has two children who are Amy (Laurel Marsden), a rebellious teenage daughter, and Henry (Peter DeSouza-Feighoney), a 12-year-old boy who becomes the host of a demon. The manifestation of the demon in Friedkin's adaptation includes profanity, levitation, open sores, biting, and bodies twisting in physically impossible ways. Etc. The film's opening segment is the most inventive, where Amorth executes an appetizer exorcism of trash-talking evil, bursting its arrogance to deceive it into defeating itself. Even a postscript implies that Amorth is a member of an exorcism kind of the Avengers Initiative. The producers wasted a golden opportunity for praise by not making the film's end with a printed title card that says, "FATHER AMORTH WILL RETURN." The exorcism movie cliches in "The Pope's Exorcist" are strong yet generic. The plot involves a Vatican conspiracy that has been contrasted with Dan Brown's writings but mostly revolves around church tragedies and scandals. The ending is so complicated and ludicrous that it attempts to justify the Inquisition and the cover-up of pedophilia by asserting that "the devil made them do it." Crowe made the film worth seeing. He shows Amorth as an arrogant cut-up with a poker-faced smirk and quick reactions to brutal scenes.
The Pope's Exorcist, featuring Russell Crowe, makes an interesting attempt to subtly hint at several unexpected things, such as sexual abuse within the Church system and the horrors of the Spanish Inquisition on those who refused conversion. Still, it is jumbled within the story of a young boy's demonic possession. However, Russell Crowe as Father Gabriele is a treat, with the actor bringing a subtle sense of humor to the role. Overall, A great horror film that both terrifies and entices your senses. Be it the 1973 popular classic The Exorcist, the 1984 film Evil Dead, or even Daniel Radcliffe's 2012 horror flick The Woman in Black, all films work to generate suspense, something Russell Crowe's The Pope's Exorcist, unfortunately, fails to do.