Thursday, 22 July 2010

No.45 : The Order

I was about 20 minutes into ‘The Order’ when I started getting a sense of déjà vu. I consulted by trusty records and found that I had seen it before on 17/09/2003 under the title ‘The Sin Eater’, which is a better and more accurate name but one word too many for our purposes. So ‘The Order’ it is! I see I saw it on a double bill with ‘The Hard Word’ and I don’t remember anything about that either - I blame the amnesia drugs they put in the pick ‘n mix.

‘The Order’ opens poorly with Heath Ledger as a priest spouting some pretentious mumbo jumbo. You quickly realise that this is going to be one of those ‘here’s the end let’s show you how we get here’ kind of films. That’s ok if the ending is a sexy and spectacular explosion filled thrill fest - not so good when it’s a priest telling you his burdens.

We quickly meet an old priest in Rome who gets a visitor of the deadly kind. Heath is a special kind of detective priest and is sent to Rome by Robo-Cop to see what’s happening. He enlists the help of a dodgily accented Irish priest played by the fat bloke off the Tesco ads. The detective work takes five minutes but there is a pretty cool scene where they go to this underground lair of some baddie priests (is there any other kind?) and they get some leads off a bloke getting hung.

The clues lead them to ‘The Other’ a rich looking German bloke who acts as a sin eater - a kind of ‘get out of jail free card’ for the guilty. On their death beds he says a few words, eats some bread from their chests and after engorging on some poor CGI he takes on their sins leaving the damned a free pass to the after life. This seems like a decent deal for all concerned, but the church isn’t happy with someone muscling in on their racket.

Heath suffers a crisis of faith after some shagging and is defrocked quicker than the lady. With the sin eater getting tired and Heath out of a job it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to work out what’s the next thing being added to the pumping priest's CV.

I’m not a great fan of religious films but I did find a few things to like in ‘The Order’. The other world, unseen by the general public is a well worn theme with films like ‘Interview With the Vampire’ doing it better but I still liked the demonic kids and the hooded secret society. The leads were all pretty good with Robo-Cop, Peter Weller, on fine form as the next pope in line. Heath was OK but a bit too earnest and moody in a role that must have been a hard sell. At least they stuck in a sex scene which must have been a big ask given the subject matter.

Less good was his relationship with the girlfriend who seemed a lot of hard work and certainly not worth giving up a lifetime’s vocation for. Tesco man was ok in a thin role and I did like home getting lured into a cellar by some sins from his past, none of which involved choirboys. He gave good support throughout, just like his neck which must be made of iron.

The special effects were lousy with the accumulated sins of a lifetime being a pile of CGI tentacles and the ‘twist’ at the end was obvious from the off.

I enjoyed the film more than I felt I would and there was enough originality and thought provoking stuff to help you overlook its many flaws. Not great but not something you’d have cringe to confess to liking either.

THE Tag Line : Father Bed in Good Order 67%

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