Sunday, 14 July 2013

God Only Knows!:- "The Sin Eater" (2003)

Kicking off a short season of films with a religious theme:-

"The Sin Eater" , also released under the rather ambiguous title "The Order", Is a 2003 Religious/Mystery/Horror film Starring the late Heath Ledger, Peter Weller, Mark Addy and a slew of other people, none of which Ive ever heard of.

The film itself is strangely categorised as a "mystery-horror" type film, although I'm not quite sure where the horror element comes into it, and as for the mystery portion, well, its not a very good or surprising one is all I'm going to say, just to spare those of you that haven't seen it from moaning about spoilers.

The plot is fairly simplistic, a young priest from a dying priestly order which concerns itself with banishing ghosts, demons and other such things that the Catholic Church now considers embarrassing finds that his mentor and surrogate father figure has died under mysterious circumstances, and during the course of his investigations, he finds out that a conspiracy involving the upper echelons of the holy see has a lot to answer for, especially when he runs across something thought only to exist in times past turns up in the 21st century.

Heath Ledger stars as Alex Bernier, the principal character of the piece , and he pulls it off quite well, sure, Alex ain't no Joker, but at this point in his career, old Heath hadn't really been in too many films, much less where he was the headliner.

Peter Weller puts in a good performance as the enigmatic Cardinal Driscoll, proving that even though he generally doesn't appear in many films, he can still deliver a good performance.

Mark Addy provides a good effort as Alex's sidekick, the Irish priest "Thomas Garrett", although for some really odd reason the scriptwriters decided to permeate his dialogue with the phrase "spaghetti-O", which although intended to act as a friendly nickname for Alex, instead ends up just being annoying and sticking out like a sore thumb.

The storyline, to me at least, seems to be a little rushed in places, but does manage to remain coherent enough so that you don't get lost along the way, although some elements of plot development seem to be a bit extraneous, for example the exposition about Mara's background, seem like they are leftovers from an earlier and much more ambitious script draft that were somehow missed when the dialogue was being trimmed down.
Dialogue wise, some of the scenes, particularly ones featuring the character Mara, are very wooden, its clear that Ledger and the actress playing Mara didn't have much chemistry as they exchange pieces of romantic speech in a very awkward manner.

For what it is though, "The Sin Eater" isn't a bad film, but its by no means a good one. At the box office it performed badly, and reviews of it generally tend towards the middling, its only real point of notoriety came from complaints received by 20th Century Fox about its content and depiction of the Catholic Church.

I give it 7 out of 10 sacrificial lambs.

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