The Order Movie Review
Heath Ledger stars as a priest in The Order, a lackluster religious thriller that treads in no new territory. Joined by his Knight's Tale love interest Shannyn Sossamon, Ledger proves that some movie just will never work.
The Order is written and directed by Brian Helgeland, the man who wrote such screenplays as Mystic River and L.A. Confidential. That's a good sign, until you consider that he also wrote The Postman and Bloodwork, and the only movies that he has directed are A Knight's Tale and Payback, neither of which are exactly cinematic magic. The Order is the worst of his directed pieces, offering very little originality, a dull story and unbelievable characters. And to cap it off, distribution in the United States decided to change its name from the eye-catching title The Sin Eaters to what it is now, a forgettable film with a forgettable title.
The Order isn't all bad. Heath Ledger is decent enough, and Mark Addy is funny enough as his sidekick. Neither of them even come close to posing as real priests, but they are tolerable. The colors and technicalities of the movie are nice, even though the graphics could have been made on a home computer. The story also has potential.
The movie fails to work on that potential. The Order, though not necessarily simplistic, is a seen-it-before film, as Ledger plays a priest struggling to regain his faith (it doesn't help that he's attracted to Sossamon) who is put to the test when he is forced to uncover a mystery buried by the Vatican. His quest leads him to the discovery of a sin eater, an immortal man that - you guessed it - eats people's sins (by the way, sins - or are they souls? - look like giant, transparent squids), but also kills them in the process. There is more than meets the eye, but it doesn't really matter as The Order struggles too hard to be something more than it is. The ending doesn't help, as it doesn't provide anything that could make something of this substandard film.
The Order isn't very exciting and isn't very fun to watch, but when everything is said and done there are worse movies out there. I definitely won't recommend it, but there are one or two movies that I would be less willing to see again. Of course, that doesn't say much.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.