Russell Crowe’s new movie “The Pope’s Exorcist” is evil. More than that, it’s demonic. Actually, it’s an abomination. I liked him in a “Beautiful Mind.” In fact, I’ve recommended the movie to those whose family members struggle with mental illness, especially schizophrenia and various forms of psychosis. But his new film was scripted in hell. I can’t say enough bad things about it. Plus, I am the only Protestant minister who can speak with authority about this film.
The movie is about Father Gabriele Amorth, former chief exorcist at the Vatican, who died in 2016. I knew him and met with him at the Vatican. He personally signed my prized 1733 edition of the Catholic Rituale Romanum. We spent hours together talking about the similarities, and differences, regarding our approach to exorcism. But let me say emphatically, this fictionalized horror flick is not how Amorth expelled demons. I know. He explained his process in detail, and it’s not far from how I do an exorcism, without the ritualistic aspects of a Catholic exorcism.
The grotesque and hellish elements of the “The Pope’s Exorcist” plot are unlike the reality of a true exorcism. Most demoniacs are normal people, even Christians, tormented by evil spirits. Bodies don’t go flying through the air, like in one scene where an assistant priest is flung about like a rag doll. No puking of hideous, slimy objects like in this film. Crowe at one point attempts suicide by putting a noose around his neck and jumping from a balcony. Father Amorth was never in danger of his life or soul like in this movie. He was protected by Christ, and so am I. We both cast out demons because of Jesus, whose presence is sadly missing in this film.
A few of the more egregious moments were:
- Calling the demons out of a man and sending them into a pig brought into the room and then shooting the hog.
- Russell Crowe’s priest character using profanity.
- Constant, gratuitous use of foul language. Yes, demons do curse, but this movie is a celebration of the F-word, over and over.
- Full frontal nudity on screen to emphasize lust.
- The main demon being Asmodeus, who is depicted as a demon powerful enough to destroy the Catholic Church. The script writers are clueless. Asmodeus is a demon of lust, but he’s nothing compared to Lucifer, Mammon, Leviathan, Lilith, or Baphomet. And he’s not so secret as depicted—the Pope himself must find this demon from an old occult text. That’s creative license bordering on lying.
- As Father Amorth, Russell Crowe takes an occasional shot of liquor, especially when he’s about to fight demons. That’s a lie. No exorcist, including Amorth, would drink whiskey to bolster courage to take on Satan as they do with the fictionalized final battle with evil.
Worst of all, before Russell Crowe as Father Amorth vanquishes Asmodeus, he himself becomes possessed by this demon and becomes a demoniac sitting on a satanic throne surrounded by Satan-worshipping pentagrams. Prayerfully, you can now see why I consider this movie to be inspired by demons and a pathetic portrayal of a godly priest who dedicated his life to fighting demons. I saw this movie because of who I am and my public responsibility to warn of evil, like I did in writing books about cults. This movie lies that Father Amorth was ever himself possessed like portrayed in this film, but you might get demons if you see this film for curiosity or entertainment.