The Sin Eater
Dir: Brian Helgeland
Star: Heath Ledger, Shannyn Sossamon, Benno Fürmann, Mark Addy, Peter Weller
Cert / Year: 15 - R / 2003
Format: DVD R2

Father Alex Bernier (Heath Ledger) is a Carolingian priest who performs exorcisms and investigates threats to the Catholic Church. He informed of the death of his mentor Dominic and goes to Rome to investigate. Once there he discovers that a Sin Eater had visited Dominic just before he died. The church fears the Sin Eaters as they grant absolution outside of the church by taken on (eating) the dying persons sins. Now Alex must face the Sin Eater and uncover a destiny that may shock his beliefs to the core.

With the same writer, director, crew and much of the cast as A Knight's Tale you might expect something really good, well I'm sorry to report you will be disappointed. What we have here is a badly messed up attempt at something along the same lines as the Omen films (that is its like the Omen films with all of the horror removed). It is a film that really isn't scary enough to be a horror, it's not funny, and it’s not even much cop as a thriller. Other than being a mildly diverting discourse on a quirk of catholic dogma it really isn't anything else.

The main problem of the film is that there is no bad guy. The Sin Eater himself is manipulative and sometimes cruel, but he isn't evil. The only real threat he poses is to the Catholic Church, and many people would actually side with him against their stuffy archaic rules. The depiction of him as an amiable and tragic character for the most part ruins any sense of horror or suspense the film may have had. In the end of the day it leaves a story that is totally pointless.

The cast also isn't up to the form of A Knight's Tale. Heath Ledger is good in places, awfully over acting in others. Shannyn Sossamon is given an awful wardrobe to wear and adds to this an awful performance. Peter Weller is as always wooden, and Benno Fürmann as the Sin Eater tries really hard but isn't given much to work with. Thank heavens then for Mark Addy who as a hard living renegade priest adds a touch of class and humor.

This film is a real let down. Brian Helgeland does some fine direction but it can't cover up the weakness of his script. It's easy to see how this film got made on the back of A Knight's Tale but this is not a patch on that film. Mark Addy deserves real credit for trying to almost single-handedly save the film, but he is on a road to nowhere. Without a credible threat to anyone or anything we care about, and without any genuine horror this church based thriller is a duff sermon. I guess everyone involved should have stuck to medieval comedy.


Every soul has its price.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5

Picture 1.85:1 Anamorphic Little grainy but not bad.
Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 Impressive when the birds are flying around.
Features Commentary by Brian Helgeland which proves how deluded about this film he is.
Pointless deleted scenes
Verdict The transfer is pretty good and there are enough extras. To be honest the film isn't good enough to warrent any more.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Reviewed by Glitz Back Top Home