The Pope's Exorcist (2023)
May 10, 2023 5:59 AM - Subscribe

Gabriele Amorth (Russell Crowe), the Vatican's leading exorcist investigates the possession of a child and uncovers a conspiracy the Vatican has tried to keep secret.

Also starring Daniel Zovatto, Alex Essie, Franco Nero, Peter DeSouza-Feighoney, Laurel Marsden, Cornell John.

Directed by Julius Avery (Overlord) from a screenplay by Michael Petroni and Evan Spiliotopoulos, loosely based on the 1990 book An Exorcist Tells His Story and the 1992 book An Exorcist: More Stories by Father Gabriele Amorth.

50% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Still in theaters in some places. Also available for digital rental. JustWatch listing.
posted by DirtyOldTown (19 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This movie... yet another exorcism movie a true story in the sense that Amorth existed, worked for the Pope, and did exorcisms... very little else is from reality
-...has some corny Dan Brown level conspiracy shit in it
-...has a bunch of weird tonal lurches
-...has a child performance at its core that is... not great
-...has Russell Crowe having the time of his life
-...has solid to good FX and some surprising gore

Reactions have varied, but for the folks like me who could forgive the first things for the last two factors, it's an entertaining mess of a movie.

Crowe's performance is a bit like those latter career Orson Welles performances in schlock where he knew he was older and fatter but still above the material. He rips loose and has a blast anyway, because why the hell not.

Hammy, larger-than-life Crowe > younger strident Crowe.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:03 AM on May 10 [7 favorites]

The least believable thing was that a 60 year old priest would drive the 1500km from Rome to San Sebastián on a moped. While on an urgent mission for the pope no less!
posted by gnuhavenpier at 10:55 AM on May 10 [6 favorites]

We wondered about that, but decided he was eccentric enough to check his moped on the plane and have it shipped for his convenience.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:30 AM on May 10 [5 favorites]

I’ll allow it!

(The second least believable thing was Ireland standing in for Spain)
I enjoyed this silly film even thought I’d gone in mistaken that it was based on a true story. It quickly became obvious that I’d got the wrong end of the stick.

Lolled at the way they sort of set up a bunch of possible sequels.
posted by gnuhavenpier at 11:37 AM on May 10 [3 favorites]

I was ready to ignore this movie, but then I read this:

The Pope’s Exorcist teases 199 sequels and I would watch every single one of them

And between that and this post, I'm thinking of revising my stance.
posted by mrphancy at 12:07 PM on May 10 [3 favorites]

The Flophouse just did a pod on this, and I'm now more likely to see it than before.
posted by rodlymight at 5:21 PM on May 10 [2 favorites]

Mrphancy-clicked on your link and got an error message.
posted by miss-lapin at 10:35 PM on May 10

...has Russell Crowe having the time of his life

One of the enjoyable oddities of this movie is that the demon is doing its demon thing, and trying to shake and off-balance and scare the exorcists, but while it is doing it the demon keeps coming back over and over again to Russell Crowe's weight. Like there must be a solid dozen times where the demon references that Crowe has put on a lot of weight.

Which number 1, good on Crowe for being a trooper and allowing it in the movie. Number 2 though, is that if you are doing a roast, going after someone's weight is some really low-hanging fruit. The demon has had thousands of years to practice this, and I'm not that impressed that this is the best material it has come up with. And I don't think it's necessarily that impactful? Like if you're 60 years old and bodily robust you're probably pretty used to parrying attacks along those lines, and you're probably ok with the fact that yeah, you like food, big deal.

Which is all just to say that I hope in the 199 sequels the other demons paint with less of a broad brush, and instead focus their roasts on some really precise observational and psychological aspects. E.g. the sort of thing you would get from some really mean teenagers, who somehow know exactly where to hit an old person to really ruin their day.
posted by Balna Watya at 2:47 AM on May 11 [3 favorites]

Mrphancy-clicked on your link and got an error message.

I suspect that this is the intended link.
posted by gauche at 4:57 AM on May 11 [3 favorites]

Like if you're 60 years old and bodily robust you're probably pretty used to parrying attacks along those lines, and you're probably ok with the fact that yeah, you like food, big deal.

Heh - I am 50, and overweight and yeah - that wouldn't torment me... Like... I know I am fat because I like food and live a sedentary lifestyle. Maybe for a priest it is a bit more meaningful though - because isn't 'gluttony' a sin? (If you buy into the whole framework of the seven deadly sins...)
posted by rozcakj at 6:08 AM on May 11

@gauche, @miss-lapin Oops! Thanks. I must've pasted funny.
posted by mrphancy at 6:47 AM on May 11 [1 favorite]

How does it stack up against the original The Exorcist? Because that actually hit pretty hard, even with some of the more risible elements (puking, head-spinning) having been parodied to, well, hell and gone. Watching the trailer, I couldn't tell whether they were meaning it as sort of a parody (Exorcise Harder) or just more gore.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:53 AM on May 11

It plays like a hybrid of horror and adventure, with some Dan Brown and Indiana Jones stuff thrown in. There are some scares, but I think they knew they couldn't approach what Exorcist pulled off in 2023, so they made it more of a ride. It definitely does not take itself overly seriously.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:54 AM on May 11 [4 favorites]

I watched the trailer awhile ago and I had two thoughts - Franco "Django" Nero is the fucking pope and Russell Crowe does a "thatsa spicy meatball" accent. And as a Catholic who practices his religion solely through the eating of pork and watching crappy "Catholic" themed horror movies this is literally made for me.
posted by Ashwagandha at 1:52 PM on May 11 [1 favorite]

But honestly it is by the same person who did Overlord which was a lot of fun.
posted by Ashwagandha at 5:05 PM on May 11

On the quality scale, if you expect the kind of energetic, plot-hole-ridden fun of Overlord and then add in "Russell Crowe having a great time" then that will calibrate you about right.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:16 PM on May 11

Haven't seen this yet. But the descriptions here sound very much like the immensely goofy, yet immensely fun show (with some shockingly cool SFX) called "30 Coins" from several years back. It was produced and shot in Spain, aired on HBO and I think my wife and I are the only people who have ever heard of it. I highly recommend it if it's still available.
posted by SoberHighland at 4:51 AM on May 12 [3 favorites]

Oh you are definitely not the only person who watched and loved that show!
posted by miss-lapin at 8:43 AM on May 12 [2 favorites]

I saw this opening weekend, its a great time. Crowe's performance is fun as hell, its NOT 3 hours long, and there is some legit fun catholic conspiracy stuff that elevates it a beyond a normal exorcism movie. My wife loved it- Constantine is one of her favorite movies so calibrate expectations.

The accent is so goofy/entertaining. "Take-a that up with-a my boss... Da Pope!"
posted by kittensofthenight at 12:34 PM on May 12 [3 favorites]

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