A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie has a lot of peril and violence, some very graphic, including suicide and murder. There is brief strong language. There is a moderately explicit sexual situation with some nudity. Some audience members will be offended by the portrayal of the Catholic church and the behavior of the priests and a cardinal. Some may also be offended by the idea of the sin eaters, believing that sins should only be expiated through sincere atonement and not through some spiritual "get out of jail free" card.
What's the story?
In this religious mystery/thriller, Father Alex Bernier (Heath Ledger) is sent to Rome to investigate the murder of the head of his secret sect, the Carolingians. In Rome, Bernier is aided in his investigation by his old friend Father Garrett (Mark Addy) and artist Mara (Shannyn Sossamon). The investigation uncovers the possibility that others may have also been killed in a religious ritual involving a "sin eater," who absorbs another person's sins by eating a piece of bread that was placed on the subject's chest just before death.
Is it any good?
There are so many things wrong with THE ORDER. The plot provides many opportunities for boring and pretentiously portentous dialogue that sounds like a bad parody: "You surpass even the Jesuits in your heretical search for knowledge," or "Knowledge is the enemy of faith," or "We're the Catholic Pete, Linc, and Julie." Yep, we can always use a Mod Squad reference in what is supposed to be a dark and disturbing gothic thriller.
Also, scenes are either washed out or too dark. Settings feature the typical crumbling manuscripts and dripping candles, a decaying mansion, an underground lair, a graveyard at midnight. A pair of silent children are supposed to look threatening, but they just look like a Keene painting. Finally, there is no energy to move the narrative along, dissipating any tension and providing much too much time to dwell on the logical inconsistencies.
Talk to your kids about ...
- In theaters: September 4, 2003
- On DVD or streaming: December 29, 2003
- Cast: Heath Ledger, Mark Addy, Shannyn Sossamon
- Director: Brian Helgeland
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
- Genre: Thriller
- Run time: 102 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: violent images, sexuality and language
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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