The Order

"Bad"

The Order Review


The Brian Helgeland repertory company of Heath Ledger, Shannyn Sossamon, and Mark Addy returns in The Order, following their 2001 feature A Knight's Tale. Helgeland has reassembled his crew for the crappy supernatural thriller some talented directors seem to need to get out of their system. Roman Polanski had to do The Ninth Gate before he could grab as Oscar for The Pianist; earlier this year, Lawrence Kasdan exorcised Dreamcatcher. Helgeland has written some good films (L.A. Confidential, Blood Work) and directed one of the better Mel Gibson vehicles (Payback). Making one bad horror movie isn't so bad; in fact, good career horror directors can find themselves mired in shlock for years. Doubtless Helgeland will move on to better projects.

Perhaps he should seek to expand his cast of players before that time comes. As nice as it is to see a writer-director and group of actors getting along so swimmingly, one reason The Order never quite makes it out of the gate is a stunningly inert ensemble. Heath Ledger is a member of a new class of young actors handsome enough to be mistaken for leading man, when, really, they would be better served by character parts (Josh Hartnett and Vin Diesel, feel free to jot this down). Ledger, despite his grizzle here, looks too young to play a rogue priest investigating the death of a member of his obscure order. His character is given a complicated, traumatic past, but he looks more tired and bored than haunted. Mark Addy contributes a dash of levity as another member of the order, but his character disappears for long stretches, only to materialize for the occasional dire injury.

Ledger and Addy have been better in other movies. Shannyn Sossamon, though, has only been in other movies (40 Days and 40 Nights, Rules of Attraction). She always plays the same thrift-shoppy, chilled-out pixie, and I believe her time is up. Her romance with Ledger is portrayed through some early flirting and late anguish, all unconvincing. A little credit: She does deliver the movie's one good line ("We're kind of a Catholic Pete, Julie, and Linc," she says of the holy trio).

If I haven't yet mentioned additional story details, it's because Helgeland's screenplay favors blatant, thudding exposition in dialogue instead of actual onscreen action. Much time is spent on characters discussing what we haven't seen in serious tones. So not much actually happens in The Order: Ledger travels to Rome, sort of investigates that death, and tracks down someone known as the Sin Eater (Benno Fürmann). The Sin Eater performs a supernatural ritual to absolve the sins of the dying. The film makes a pretty big deal about becoming a Sin Eater while simultaneously showing that it's pretty easy; as far as I could tell, you only need to perform the ritual once, and you're in. Given that one of the perks of becoming a Sin Eater is living for a very long time, it's odd that the menacing conspirators within the Vatican (oh, yeah: there's some kind of Vatican conspiracy -- someone wants to become a warrior pope!) don't have a whole army of Sin Eaters at their disposal. But this is a movie too dull to imagine one interesting Sin Eater, let alone an army's worth.

I must admit that "the Sin Eater" is a pretty cool-sounding concept, and if you'd like to hear the words another dozen or so times, by all means, go see The Order. If not, though, just wait for Helgeland to conjure something better.

Deleted scenes and a commentary from Helgeland comprise bonus features on the DVD.

Eat this, pal!



The Order

Facts and Figures

Run time: 102 mins

In Theaters: Friday 5th September 2003

Box Office USA: $7.5M

Box Office Worldwide: $11.6M

Distributed by: 20th Century Fox

Production compaines: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Baumgarten Merims Productions, N1 European Film Produktions GmbH & Co. KG

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 8%
Fresh: 5 Rotten: 55

IMDB: 5.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Alex Bernier, as Mara Sinclair, as William Eden, as Thomas Garrett, as Driscoll, Francesco Carnelutti as Dominic, as Apathetic Bishop, Paola Emilia Villa as Sister Marie, Giulia Lombardi as Little Girl, Mirko Casaburo as Little Boy

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.