The Devil and Father Amorth
Film: The Devil and Father Amorth
Director: William Friedkin
Writer: William Friedkin and Mark Kermode
Starring: Gabriele Amorth, Robert Barron and William Friedkin
This is an interesting documentary from the director of The Exorcist. It begins with him as he is the writer, director and one of stars of this documentary, William Friedkin. He gives his back-story of how he became involved with the project and where the real story that is the basis of The Exorcist came from. The writer of the novel, William Peter Blatty, learned about it while he was in college. Originally he wanted to write a non-fiction story of the events, but the family that went through the ordeal declined to participate. He instead wrote the fictionalized tale.
We are then introduced to the Vatican’s best exorcist, Father Gabriele Amorth. He has performed over 300 exorcists in his time in this role. He allows Friedkin to sit in on the exorcism of an Italian woman, but he can only bring in one small camera and has to come alone. A little background is the woman is having her ninth exorcism.
After we are shown this, Friedkin then seeks out doctors for their opinion of the footage and if they can refute with science with what they saw. On top of that, he seeks out the assistant bishop of Los Angeles as well for his opinion. There is also quite the chilling conclusion to this documentary.
Now I found this to be quite interesting. I’m personally not a religious person. I don’t have anything against those that are until you push your beliefs on to me. I struggle with being agnostic or an atheist. What we see during this exorcism was kind of chilling. I am assuming that they didn’t alter the sound to make it scarier. What happens after the initial exorcism and the conclusion had me feeling uncomfortable as well.
Going off of that, I do have some issues with what Friedkin states happened when he sought out the Italian woman after the exorcism he witnessed. He recounts the events, but did not get them on camera. As someone of who is a believer in science, I need to see what he claims happens, but there is no footage. I’m not saying he is lying or doing this to amp up the tension, but it is just personally my stance on it. If it really happened, it would be the most terrifying part of this whole thing.
The sound design of the film was quite interesting as well. During the exorcism scenes, there is no music at all which I thought was a good choice. The voice that is coming from the woman is quite creepy I think music underneath could have effected it. When there is background or stories being told, they use music from the Exorcist as well as other creepy music that would fit in that film. That helped me to feel uncomfortable and built some tension.
I thought the film was edited very well. We get background information on exorcisms as well as Father Amorth. We then see the exorcism and then him taking the footage to doctors for their opinion. It then has a conclusion. I just thought the choices of where to put the footage they did was good.
Now with that said, this does have some compelling evidence that possession maybe real. What I even thought was interesting is that doctors that see the footage do not refute it, but do provide a scientific explanation that is quite plausible. What we see was quite unnerving for me at times, seeing that this is the actual footage. I do question the story that is given as to the conclusion since there is no footage of that. I thought the sound design for the film was great and the editing of the footage was solid. If you are a fan of the Exorcist, I’d give this a viewing for what a real exorcism looks like. If you are religious I also would say this would be a solid film to view as well. I found it to be an above average documentary.
My Rating: 7 out of 10