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"THE ORDER"
(2003) (Heath Ledger, Shannyn Sossamon) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Mild Extreme Extreme *Moderate Heavy
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Minor Mild Extreme None Heavy
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Heavy Minor Moderate Moderate Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Horror: A renegade priest sets out to investigate his mentor's death and uncovers a conspiracy in the church as well as a figure known as the Sin Eater who absorbs the sins of others.
PLOT:
Alex (HEATH LEDGER) is a NYC priest who practices a rare form of Catholicism that's left the church, represented by Cardinal Driscoll (PETER WELLER), confused about how to deal with him. When he hears that the head of his order, Father Dominic (FRANCESCO CARNELUTTI), has died, Alex sets off for Rome.

He asks former priest and friend Thomas (MARK ADDY) to meet him there and brings along Mara (SHANNYN SOSSAMON), a woman who's escaped from a mental institution. She was there due to previously having tried to kill him around the time he performed an exorcism on her, but he's nevertheless attracted to her, a point that only exacerbates his confused state of mind.

Once in Rome, Alex begins to investigate Dominic's death and doesn't believe he committed suicide as others state. As he and Thomas dig deeper into the matter, they soon come across William Eden (BENNO FÜRMANN). He's a mysterious, immortal figure known as a Sin Eater who takes it upon himself to absolve those who've been shunned by the Church.

As they uncover additional unsettling facts, Alex soon realizes that they've stumbled upon a conspiracy in the highest levels of the Catholic church that involve him in ways he never could have expected.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're fans of someone in the cast or religion-based horror films, they might.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For violent images, sexuality and language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • HEATH LEDGER plays a NYC priest who's something of a renegade in that he practices a mostly obscure form of Catholicism. When he learns that his mentor has died, he heads to Rome where he must deal with various unsettling and dangerous elements that he uncovers. He briefly uses profanity and has sex with Mara.
  • SHANNYN SOSSAMON plays a painter who's recently escaped from a mental institution (put there after trying to kill Alex during an exorcism) and accompanies Alex to Rome where she has sex with him.
  • BENNO FÜRMANN plays the immortal Sin Eater who wants Alex to take over his position of absolving those who've been shunned by the Catholic church. He briefly uses strong profanity.
  • MARK ADDY plays another priest and Alex's friend who assists him on his quest. He briefly uses strong profanity.
  • PETER WELLER plays a power hungry Cardinal who wants to be Pope and will do anything to attain that position. He smokes a few times.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated horror film. Profanity consists of at least 4 "f" words, while a handful of other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. Some brief, sexually explicit dialogue is present, as is one sexual encounter (that's rather tame for an R-rated movie, but shows some non-explicit skin and passionate making out).

    Violence consists of various deaths (a stabbing, some shootings, a hanging, some falling, getting hit by a truck and a supposed suicide attempt that later turns out to be murder) and some injuries and struggling. Some of those scenes and others have rather bloody results, while they and the supernatural-based scenes might be unsettling, suspenseful or scary to some viewers, particularly younger ones and those with low tolerance levels for such material.

    Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes, while some smoke, others drink (and there's some talk of past drunkenness) and some tense family material is present. Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Alex drinks from a flask that he then hands to Thomas who also drinks from it.
  • Thomas asks the Cardinal if he cares for beer or something a little stronger. We also see a bottle of wine on the table.
  • Thomas mentions getting drunk last year.
  • Later, Thomas carries an open bottle of wine, but throws it against a door (where it shatters) to get the attention of those inside.
  • People drink in a club.
  • Eden comments on drinking too much sometime in the past.
  • Eden has wine.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see a flashback to young Alex seeing his dead mother laid out before him, with a graphic but no longer bloody cut wound on her wrist (from committing suicide).
  • The faces of some demonic "kids" momentarily look decomposed (but quickly heal) before they turn into a number of some sort of birds or bats and flutter away.
  • We see suicide attempt scars on Mara's wrists.
  • We see brief wounds appear on a dying man's chest, but they quick heal (during the sin eating process).
  • As a man's sins are absorbed during the sin eating process, we see a quick montage of various images, some of which appear to be of bloody incidents and/or bloody internal body parts. We later see the same during another similar session.
  • Alex finds an apparent suicide victim lying dying on the floor with blood on her as well as the floor (we briefly see the bloody wounds on her wrists). He later has her blood on his hands and neck.
  • Thomas has a blood-stained bandage around his hand.
  • We see blood on a man's shirt after he's been stabbed (as well as some blood on the knife and the assailant's hand).
  • We see a barely alive man sitting on a chair with bloody cut wounds on his wrists and two bowls of blood beneath them.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • We hear that Mara previously try to shoot and kill Alex (apparently during or around an exorcism he was performing on her).
  • Alex disobeys orders from the church and buries Dominic, who was excommunicated, on sacred church grounds.
  • Eden absorbs others' sins when the Catholic church won't and it condemns what he does (which is essentially playing God in terms of sins and forgiveness).
  • We learn that various people and forces made deals (some of them deadly) to attempt to force Alex into taking over the role of sin eater (and for one to try to become Pope).
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" and "Blood/Gore" may be unsettling, suspenseful or scary to some viewers, particularly younger ones and those with low tolerance levels for such material. Others might not find much, if any of it, that way.
  • Some creepy kids sit outside a priest's apartment in Rome.
  • We hear screaming and sounds of violence, and see light flashing from behind a door (from a sin eater doing his job on a person).
  • A large, menacing dog suddenly lunges out at Alex from the dark but is restrained by its chain.
  • After secretly burying a priest in the church cemetery at night, we see the point of view of two creepy, demonic kids who then confront Alex, and he tries to ward them off with religious sayings. They approach and knock him down with mental powers or strong wind blasts, and their bodies momentarily look decomposed (but quickly heal) before they turn into a number of some sort of birds or bats and flitter away.
  • A hooded and robed person drops from a wall and is hung (he briefly struggles but then dies).
  • Alex falls into a small body of water down in some tunnels and is then swept under some locked grates. Thomas then races to get one of them open before Alex drowns.
  • Demonic voices taunt and tempt Thomas down in some dark tunnels and he's drawn to them.
  • In a flashback in a church under construction, we see some scaffolding start to collapse. One man falls hard to the floor and another appears to be hit by some debris. A man then holds onto his younger brother's arm and rescues him, only to fall hard to the floor (he dies moments later).
  • Alex approaches Eden with a knife earmarked to kill him, but doesn't use it.
  • Supernatural looking "sins" come out of a man's body, wrap their tentacles around Eden's neck and then enter his body through his mouth (this occurs again).
  • Eden somewhat menacingly approaches Mara who tries to get away from him but can't. He then breaks a mirror and it's implied that he's done (or is going to do) her some harm.
  • Alex finds an apparent suicide victim lying dying on the floor with blood on her as well as the floor (we briefly see the bloody wounds on her wrists).
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handgun/Knife: Used to threaten, wound and kill several people. See "Violence" for details.
  • A doorman wears a handgun tucked into the back of his pants.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "F*ck your God," "The f*cking cavalry," "Oh sh*t," "Damn dirty job," "You pagan worshipping pig," "Whore" and "He just doesn't give a damn."
  • JUMP SCENES
  • A large, menacing dog suddenly lunges out at Alex from the dark but is restrained by its chain.
  • Bats suddenly fly out and startle Alex.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • An extreme amount of ominous and suspenseful music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 4 "f" words (1 used sexually), 2 "s" words, 2 damns, 1 hell and 1 use of "Jesus, Mary and Joseph."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Thomas tells Alex that what's strange is that Alex is a priest sleeping on a couch rather than a man sleeping in bed with Mara.
  • A miscellaneous woman shows a tiny bit of cleavage.
  • When Alex asks Eden if he's a man, Eden replies, "I sh*t. I f*ck. I shave. Does that make me a man?"
  • We see Alex and Mara in a shirtless embrace as well as various head & shoulders and torso shots of them making out. One such shot briefly shows part of the side of her bare breast. It's implied that they have sex and we then see them asleep together in a bed. The next morning, she sits up in bed with a sheet wrapped around her chest.
  • SMOKING
  • Driscoll smokes several times, while some miscellaneous people smoke in a few scenes.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • We see a flashback to young Alex seeing his dead mother laid out before him, with a graphic but no longer bloody cut wound on her wrist (from committing suicide). We later hear that Alex's father died in a car accident.
  • We hear that Mara's brother was murdered sometime in the past.
  • In a flashback, a young boy sees his brother die in an accident.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Being a priest.
  • Suicide.
  • Exorcism.
  • Sins and the absolution of them.
  • The Catholic Church.
  • The comments that knowledge is the enemy of faith, and then when you look into the abyss, sometimes the abyss looks back into you.
  • VIOLENCE
  • We hear screaming and sounds of violence and see light flashing from behind a door (from a sin eater doing his job on a person).
  • Thomas chases after some sort of demonic being that's then struck by a truck ("he" ends up smashing through its windshield with some blood from his mouth before dying and then apparently aging or drying up).
  • After secretly burying a priest in the church cemetery at night, we see the point of view of two creepy, demonic kids who then confront Alex, and he tries to ward them off with religious sayings. They approach and knock him down with mental powers or strong wind blasts.
  • Thomas carries an open bottle of wine, but throws it against a door (where it shatters) to get the attention of those inside.
  • A hooded and robed person drops from a wall and is hung (he briefly struggles but then dies).
  • What appear to be bolts suddenly tear loose from some structure and impale a man several times, including through his hand against a wall (with slightly bloody results).
  • In a flashback in a church under construction, we see some scaffolding start to collapse. One man falls hard to the floor and another appears to be hit by some debris. A man then holds onto his younger brother's arm and rescues him, only to fall hard to the floor (he dies moments later).
  • Eden somewhat menacingly approaches Mara who tries to get away from him but can't. He then breaks a mirror and it's implied that he's done (or is going to do) her some harm.
  • Alex finds an apparent suicide victim lying dying on the floor with blood on her as well as the floor. We later learn that she was murdered.
  • Alex sets a dead priest's apartment on fire.
  • Alex overturns things in Eden's place in anger.
  • Some thugs bend Thomas arms' back behind him, causing him some pain.
  • We see Alex holding a large rock and then hear the sound of him hitting a thug with it. He then enters a subterranean lair and fires a warning shot with a handgun. Another man is then hanged and once Alex recognizes the victim, he repeatedly shoots at the rope to make it fall (it does) and then shoots at several people, apparently hitting some of them (we don't see the impact or any blood). The man who was to be hanged is injured but okay.
  • A man stabs another man who then forces the knife deeper into himself, mortally wounding him.
  • Alex forces a man's sins back into his mouth, struggling to keep his mouth closed and the man apparently dies (as his chest sinks down in a concave fashion).



  • Reviewed September 5, 2003 / Posted September 5, 2003

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