Firstly, I think this would be a rather strange movie for a non-Catholic to go to. Except, of course, if you are a fan of Anthony Hopkins, which incidentally, I proclaimed myself as, after watching his performance in "The Remains of the Day" (all thanks to Esplanade Library for the DVD!).
So, how was the movie, you asked? "Balanced" is my word. To a lesser extent, "average". I think the Swedish director, Mikael Hafstrom, tried too hard to please the mainstream audiences, given its scare tactic, the dramatic soundtrack especially, and a few bows to pop culture. I would much rather that he plays it "as it is", to give it more realism, given the intriguing "even-the-Vatican-thinks-there-is-devil-or-possession-you-know" theme.
Prior to watching the movie, I was boosted by the press interview with the director, revealing how its focus is on the internal struggle of a priest - rather than the gore of exorcisms, which explains the NC-16 rating - as "Batman Begins" came to mind, "putting the flesh back" into Batman, not just a two-dimensional graphic hero, if you know what I mean. So I thought there would be potentially mind-boggling questions raised about God, possession and its relation to religion - like throw a few spanners into the work of logic. In this aspect, "The Rite" fails miserably. And no, not even the great Anthony Hopkins could save the day, neither could the excellent works of the make-up artist(s).
P.S.: Now, talking about "Batman Begins", my money is on Christian Bale (in case you forgot, he was the man behind the mask) winning the Oscars for his top-of-the-drawer supporting performance in "The Fighter". But then there is Geoffrey Rush - another of my favourite after watching him in "Shine". Watching "The King's Speech" soon, I hope.