April 23, 2024

The Pope’s Exorcist 2023 Movie Review

The Pope's Exorcist
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The Pope’s Exorcist 2023 Movie Review

The horror movie The Pope’s Exorcist is inspired by the actual files of Father Gabriele Amorth, a priest who acted as chief exorcist of the Vatican and who performed more than 100,000 exorcisms in his lifetime. (He passed away in 2016 at the age of 91.) Amorth wrote two memoirs — “An Exorcist Tells His Story” and “An Exorcist: More Stories” — and detailed his experiences battling Satan and demons that had clutched people in their evil.

Crowe’s controversial Father Gabriele Amorth, Chief Exorcist of the Vatican, appears before a panel of his peers who question him about the tragic outcome of one of his cases — a woman who leaped to her death before a helpless Amorth. The unflappable exorcist says, “That was not an exorcism.” In fact, 98% of his cases aren’t demonic possessions at all and are referred to doctors and psychiatrists. It’s the inexplicable 2% that Amorth calls “evil”.

Besides, Crowe’s Amorth doesn’t answer any panel of peers. He is a direct report to the chief of the Catholic Church. “If you have a problem with me, you talk to my boss, the Pope.” It is the Pope himself who assigns Amorth to a case that will require all his skills as Chief Exorcist. A boy has been possessed by a particularly powerful demon that makes him vomit out a gnarly dead bird in one of the most horrific scenes in the trailer. The demon demands the boy’s loved ones to “Bring me the priest!” And the priest he specifically wants to be summoned is Father Gabriele Amorth.

That demon has an axe to grind and Amorth sets out to find its origin story. “The church has fought against this demon before. The Vatican covered it up. We need to find out why,” Amorth says as he embarks on an Indiana Jones type of excavation that uncovers long-buried church secrets and puts Amorth face to face with the demon, levitating and spewing blood, in danger of getting possessed himself.

A priest had once warned Amorth, “Imagine what could happen if the devil possesses the soul of the Pope’s exorcist? Who will defend you?” To which the indefatigable Amorth says, “My faith does not require defense.”

Spider crawls, twisting heads, hurling bodies, the trailer is on-brand, but it also teases Crowe’s trademark deadpan delivery. Told by the demon that he is Amorth’s nightmare, the Italian priest quips that his nightmare is France winning the World Cup.

The Pope’s Exorcist 2023 Movie Review