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The Order
DVD disk
10.07.2004 By: JoBlo
The Order order
Director:
Brian Helgeland

Actors:
Heath Ledger
Shannyn Sossamon
Mark Addy

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A dashing young priest is summoned to Rome in order to investigate the unusual death of one of his elderly peers. A kooky, yet adorable, babe joins him for the ride, along with a portly, wisecracking priest. Along the way, they run into a sin-eater, a being that is able to forgive the unforgivable (he should pay OJ a visit) and attempt to root out his involvement in the whole affair. Lots of gorgeous shots of Italy and a lame story ensue.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
THE ORDER is not a good movie. It’s got a half-decent premise that starts off on a somewhat intriguing mystery angle, but goes around in circles half the time, features a lead character that doesn’t seem to have any direction or charm and ultimately spends more time babbling on about religious mumbo-jumbo, than presenting a coherent, interesting or at the very least, entertaining motion picture. The actors can’t really be blamed, since most of them are decent (although Weller’s character was ridiculous and Benno Furmann was too aloof, even for an enigma—he should have been in THE MATRIX RELOADED), but the dialogue is overwrought and hollow. The film did “look” great, with Rome as its centerpiece, but where was the tension, where was the intrigue, where was the reason to care about anyone or anything that happened? It’s unfortunate but half an hour into this film, I could easily have turned it off and felt no worse for not knowing how it all ended.

Unfortunately, I had to keep on watching only to see it turn into a half-assed romance, a half-assed special effects disaster (this movie should not have had any CGI whatsoever) and ultimately, a half-assed Hollywood movie…goofy over-the-top ending et al. What’s sad is that some of the stuff that was presented early on seemed interesting enough, specifically the stuff regarding the “sin-eater”, but why was everyone talking so much? Why were all of their lines so complicated and esoteric? Why was the movie so goddamn boring? I don’t really have the answers to those questions, nor did I completely understand the film’s climax, but the truth is that I really didn’t care by that point, so no big whoop. See this film if you’re preparing to go to bed so that you could gaze at some pretty pictures as you doze off into lala-land. For anyone interested in films with similar mysterious, quasi-religious plotlines, rent the highly underrated THE NINTH GATE.
THE EXTRAS
Seeing as this film tanked at the box-office, it’s no big surprise to find very little in extras on this disc. Writer/producer/director Brian Helgeland didn’t bury his head underground though, as he speaks in its commentary track and even offers optional commentary tracks for its 7 deleted scenes. Good for you, buddy…face the music. The excised scenes don’t really add much to the story though, and make sense to have been removed from the final print (although the scene with Ledger at the hospital does provide a little more insight as to why he might actually contemplate the sin-eater’s proposal). There’s nothing in here that might’ve really helped me better understand or appreciate the film though.

To be honest, I’m not really sure what could have helped this film. Maybe a complete re-write? The commentary track is a decent one with Helgeland talking pretty consistently throughout and offering insight into scenes and their meaning (or at least, letting us know what he was trying to say with them). He doesn’t really speak directly to what most critics and audiences thought about the film upon its theatrical release, and also mentions his previous movies, particularly A KNIGHT’S TALE, way too many times (we get it, dude…you’ve made other movies that were much better than this one), but overall, a track worthy of a listen. The film's unremarkable theatrical trailer also makes the cut.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Not a very good movie with little originality or reason to be seen. I wouldn’t recommend this film to anyone, unless they’re major Heath Ledger fans (who looks great in his long, black coat) or want to complete their bizarre religious movies collection. The extras aren’t much either, but do help in clarifying some of the story. They should also have stuck to the film's original title of SIN-EATER, instead of the lame THE ORDER. Thumbs down on this one.
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