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If the Exorcist fails, all Hell will break loose.
In this six-part miniseries, Martin Shaw (Judge John Deed) is Father Jacob, a Roman Catholic priest who examines evidence of miracles to promote candidates for sainthood. He is drawn into the domain of exorcism when he is approached for help by a young girl who believes her father is possessed. Besieged by ghastly visions, vicious murders and demonic attacks, Father Jacob wages war against evil with the only weapons he has - faith, ritual and prayer.
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When I saw that the main character in this show was a priest, I was ready for yet another bad portrayal of the Catholic Church. It was refreshing to see that they did not take this path and actually showed a priest who remained committed to his beliefs. The only "bad" portrayal was that of his superior, the bishop who seems more concerned about the Church being politically correct than actually combating evil.
The series is very well written with stories that will keep you on the edge of your seats. It is not however, suited for children. If you are at all squeamish I would not watch this as some of the scenes are quite graphic. For me, the stories were so compelling that I was able to overlook the violent scenes. If you can get past that, I highly recommend this series. I just wish that it was not just a mini-series but an on-going series.
This story of a priest pulled into battle with the devil feels like it owes too much to 'The Exorcist' and 'The Omen' (among others) for the first episode or two, but then in increasingly develops it's own quirky, complex personality. I found myself ever more caught up, with richer, more morally complicated characters and situations than in most horror.
But then, it's let down by an ending less dramatic then what's been promised.
We've told this is literally going to be the birth of the anti-Christ, the unleashing of all the demons of hell, etc. The final war between good and evil.
Warning! SPOILERS AHEAD!!
So when it turns out to be just a plot on the Pope's life, I felt very confused and disappointed. It seemed almost as if there must have been a last episode or two missing.
Martin Shaw has a lot of strong moments as our hero Priest, even if a few moments are a bit theatrical. Indeed, you could say that for a lot of the acting. Fun, but a bit 'actory'
Overall I enjoyed it , I had just hoped for even more on both the visceral and thematic sides from the climax.
Upon reading the synopsis, you may think that the story (certainly it's type) has been told ad nauseam, but this in my opinion, is one of the best. It's highly entertaining and I found it to be thought provoking as well. The changing view of the Catholic Church was tackled head on.
All in all, a wonderful show which completely engages you and makes you pull it out for multiple viewings. Well worth the cost.