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Rotten Bananas, The Pope’s Exorcist 

Himika Akram reporter  

The reason behind me watching “The Pope’s Exorcist” was only Russell Crowe. This movie is based on the non-fiction written by Father Gabriele Amorth, who was a controversial figure in the church. He treated people in his own unconventional ways such as performing exorcisms on those who did not need it.  

The real trouble began when widow Julia and two children, her teenage daughter Amy, and her younger brother Henry, moved to a Spanish Abbey which they inherited from Julia’s late husband. A demon was unleashed and possessed Henry’s body. Father Amorth is summoned. Along with another Spanish priest they started performing the rituals together; but unlike the previous cases they handled, this demon was more powerful than they imagined and knew about the priests’ past sins. To deal with this demon, they must find out about the history of the grand abbey and this evil spirit. Otherwise, the whole matter will get 3ut of control.  

This movie, even though it took inspiration from Gabriele Amorth but did not portray his story line to line. It took the creative route, and there were some punches of humor here and there. Crowe, even though playing the role of an exorcist seemed like an approachable persona. He is seen admitting that he is more of an actor rather than a true exorcist. I expected to see something eerie, or horror in its real sense. 

I’m not sure if it’s my age or because the movie preferred the conventional horror movie route over something unique and terrifying; apart from Russel Crowe’s acting, the movie was not something standing out and shining through for me. From Crowe, who is particularly known for playing characters which are very intense for the audience, like a violent, inaccessible person, or a vindictive noble, or a meritorious scientist; this role was very easygoing for him and as an actor at that stature, it did not give him many opportunities to play with the character.  

The scary scenes were not scary, and the dialogues were a little funny and amateurish in scenes where it was required to be serious. For example, the scene where Crowe is trying to create an emotional appeal by saying, “A mother’s love is the closest thing we know to God’s love.” 

Also, the evil spirit will make the priests face their own sins they committed in the past; this point could have been utilized by showing a deep emotional journey for Crowe; but there was not much of it. The “sins” that were shown, did not seem too heavy for the audience where a spirit can yell at them “You’re all gonna die!”  

With the movie, “Sun of A Gun,” director Julius Avery showed good potential, but with “The Pope’s Exorcist,” I would say he just played it safe and followed the traditional formula of a horror film. But still, it is Russell Crowe at the end of the day. The Italian accent would not have been possible to mimic with so much conviction by anybody else. He managed to do it with perfect composure. Even though he tried his best to bring the character to life, the story or the script failed to give him the opportunity to highlight his best potential. My personal rating of this movie would be 6/10. This movie was released at the theatres on April 14. 

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