The Order aka The Sin Eater


Here is a movie that appeared a lot better in the previews than it did when you actually sat down to see it. It's your typical story involving the dark side of the Catholic Church with secret rites and orders, and the obligatory plot to assassinate or depose the Pope. The Order referred to in this movie is the dying Carolingian Order, whose quest for enlightenment is reputed to surpass that of the Jesuits. While they may be as learned as the Jesuits, the manner in which they comport themselves is not as orthodox as the Jesuits (no pun intended).

The story revolves around Father Alex (Heath Ledger) a rogue priest who travels to Rome to investigate the suspicious death of his excommunicated mentor. Between searching for the truth and fighting the Vatican, he uncovers the existence of a sin-eater; an immortal lay person who can grant absolution to those beyond redemption. Alex and his Carolingian brother Father Thomas (Mark Addy) suspect that the sin eater, named William Eden (Benno Furmann: The Princess and the Warrior), was the cause of their mentor's death. The two, guided by the shady Cardinal Driscoll (Peter Weller: Robocop) who's vying to be the next Pope, seek out Eden and the arcane texts and doctrines that their mentor studied to make a connection. To add to the growing complexity and unreasonableness of the story, traipsing behind Alex is Mara (Shannon Sossamon), an escaped mental patient who is in love with him. She also tried to kill him during an exorcism, but I guess him being a priest and all, he forgives her. The remainder of The Order shows Alex's search for and interaction with The Sin Eater (the European title of the film).

Well, if this review seems mediocre then I suppose that I've conveyed the sentiment and quality of the movie. I assure you that had it not been a rainy, boring, lonely day, I would be more pissed off at the loss of my $6.00. Billed as a religious thriller, it is far from thrilling, and the reunification of several casts members and the director of A Knight's Tale don't mitigate the disappointment. Sossamon and Ledger play love interests again in this film, but chemistry of their earlier project is noticeably absent, as is the comic relief attempted by Addy (Roland in Knight's Tale). I am sure that the embattled Roman Catholic Church doesn't think too much of the esoteric flaws of dogma that this film brings out, but then again why would we even expect them to. In fact, you shouldn't expect much of anything out of this film.

Grade: D

Notes: This movie should be ordered back to Hell.

Czarina's Caustic Comment or Captious Compliment: Cancel this Order. Director Brian Helgeland may need a sin eater after this cinematic peccadillo.

All Hail The Czarina

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