What does a director
like Brian Helgeland do next after his last film, "A
Knight's Tale", was so successful? Does he do a
similar film and try to keep his fan base happy? No.
Does he try something bizarre and unexpected that puzzles
both critics and audiences alike? No. Does he
create a worthless, mindnumbingly dumb piece of cinema
that offers as much in terms of entertainment as a bed of
nails does in terms of comfort. "The
Order" is a flop.
Heath Ledger stars as Alex Bermier, a very conflicted
priest from New York who is called upon to assist in the
investigation of the death of the French ambassador, whose
corpse was discovered with some very cryptic writings on
it. He, along with female artist Mara
Sinclair (Shannyn Sossamon) -- whom he once performed an
exorcism on -- and Father Thomas Garrett (Mark Addy),
must conduct some investigations in Rome and try and stop
the 'sineater' (an ancient Christian order who believe
they should absolve people of their sins) from
continuing with his unholy tasks. The plot actually
sounds interesting and intriguing, but don't let that fool
you -- the acting is poor and the film, as a whole, is a
Now, let's talk about the acting, shall we. Now, I
have never been what you would call a big Heath Ledger
fan. His work in "The Patriot" was
charming, at best, and, though he was decent in "A
Knight's Tale", many other actors could have done a
better job (and Paul Bettany was the most watchable thing
in "A Knight's Tale"). "The Four
Feathers" was a joke. His work in "The
Order" is useless. Ledger is too young and too
sweet and innocent looking to be playing a character with
such a background and such an experienced past. He
just doesn't look believable. And, I am so use to
having Ledger put on a different accent, hearing his
actual accent for such an extended period of time is
annoying and, at some points, unbearable. Mel Gibson
and Guy Pearce carry it much better. And, I am still
filled with dislike for Sossamon, who I believe to be a
horrible actress and total waste of the price of a ticket.
As for Mark Addy, I just love him when he is given good
material with which to work.
From beginning to end, "The Order" is a jumbled
mess of attempted scares, which all fall flat, and what
seems to be Helgeland's attempt at character depth and
emotional power to the plot, which also falls flat.
"A Knight's Tale" worked because it was funny,
action packed, original, and highly entertaining.
"The Order: sinks because it is anything but those
things. It might work for those googly eyed
teenagers who think Heath Ledger is the sexiest man on the
planet, but the average moviegoer should see right through
his kindergarten eyes and pinchable cheeks. This
'order' can be placed on hold.