out of 4
All-Reviews.com Movie/Video Review
|*Also starring: ||Mark Addy, Benno Furmann, Peter Weller, Seeta Indrani, Matt Patresi, John Schwab, Paola Emilia Villa||
Review by Susan Granger
1 star out of 4
While "The Order" purports to be a religious thriller, it's neither
religious nor a thriller. It's an occult tale based on the intriguing medieval
concept of the Sin Eater. That's someone who can offer absolution by swallowing
a confessor's sins and taking them upon himself. This relic ritual involves
placing salt and bread on the deceased, reciting an incantation and then
consuming the salt and bread, representing the sins. As reinterpreted by
writer/director Brian Helgeland, that act of absolution brings with it a kind
of immortality, so that if the Sin Eater ever wants to pass on to the
afterlife, he must find another priest to eat all the sins he's accumulated
over the years.
Heath Ledger plays Alex, a conflicted Carolingen priest who still says
Mass in Latin. He is dispatched by Cardinal Driscoll of New York (Peter Weller)
to Rome to investigate the death of his mentor, Father Dominic. Accompanying
him is Mara, (Shannyn Sossamon), a suicidal psychic with whom Alex shares a
troubled past. They team up with Alex's buddy, a burly Irish priest, Father
Thomas (Mark Addy). These renegades operate in the shadowy underground of the
Eternal City, fearing nothing, not even Church hierarchy, in their perilous
determination to locate William Eden (German actor Benno Furmann): a.k.a.: The
Other. Once found, this weary 600 year-old Sin Eater intones pithy mumbo-jumbo
like, "Knowledge is the enemy of faith."
There's nothing suspenseful, shocking or scary about what happens,
particularly since Nicola Pecorini's cinematography is cloaked in shadows. And
if the trio of protagonists looks familiar, Brian Helgeland previously teamed
Ledger, Sossamon and Addy in "A Knight's Tale." On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1
to 10, "The Order" is a dark, tedious 2. It's a murky cinematic mess.
Copyright © 2003 Susan Granger
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