Box art for The Order (2001)

The Order (2001)

  • Rated NR
  • HD and SD formats available

action & adventure, drama, horror, thrillers

A conflicted priest is investigating his defrocked mentor's "suicide" when he encounters an ancient sin eater who offers absolution outside the Church, and who has been manipulating events

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

OFF for kids age 16
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

There's little reason to watch this mess.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie has a lot of peril and violence, some very graphic, including suicide and murder. There is brief strong language. There is a moderately explicit sexual situation with some nudity. Some audience members will be offended by the portrayal of the Catholic church and the behavior of the priests and a cardinal. Some may also be offended by the idea of the sin eaters, believing that sins should only be expiated through sincere atonement and not through some spiritual "get out of jail free" card.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about their notion of expiation of sin.

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 22
    see all The Order (2001) reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Rotten: This has to be one of the most inconsequential films dealing with religion ever made.

- Bill Clark, FromTheBalcony, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Rotten: "The Order" is a halfhearted "supernatural thriller"%u2014interpret as not an actual "horror" movie...

- Cole Smithey,, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Rotten: It's a horror movie that isn't frightening and a thriller that isn't thrilling.

- Gary Dowell, Dallas Morning News, Monday, September 8, 2003

Audience Reviews

1 star

o dear what a mess of a horror movie!!

- briandeguelle, Thursday, March 19, 2009

2 stars

"And now it is I. I have been blessed and cursed... for now I possess the keys to the kingdom of heaven. I will forgive those who deserve freedom. I will damn those who have damned themselves. I will learn to live after love has died. I am the sin eater." 2003's The Order (known in the Australia as The Sin Eater) is an appalling attempt at a religious-themed horror movie. The days of The Exorcist and The Omen have come and vanished. While some consider them horror masterpieces, they have dated and are now unspeakably silly affairs. Considering the batch of religious horror movies that crept out and died in the past decade (like Arnie in End of Days and the mediocre Roman Polanski/Johnny Depp film The Ninth Gate) it's amazing that someone took another stab at the genre. This time it's writer/director Brian Helgeland who tries his luck. Considering his previous work on Mystic River, Blood Work and L.A. Confidential one would assume that he could produce a quality product. But Helgeland was also behind A Knight's Tale, and his dreadful screenwriting skills come out to play with this film as well. It seems the writer/director also brought along the cast for A Knight's Tale and plonked them into random roles...whether they suit their assigned role or not. On that note, virtually every performance is terrible. The Order was subsequently greeted with a terrible critical reception upon release, and to me it seems for good reason. The Catholic Church was apparently extremely displeased with the outcome of this production. Perhaps the Catholics should have sued the filmmakers for defamation of religion. Even better, poor cinema-goers that endured this mess should have sued the studio for defamation of personal time or something. Father Alex Bernier (Ledger) is a rogue priest. He receives word that the leader of his order has died in Rome under mysterious circumstances. Alex is encouraged to travel to Rome and investigate the death. Naturally, this handsome young priest is accompanied by an attractive young woman. In this case we have former mental patient Mara (Sossamon) who was institutionalised for trying to kill Alex. Now Mara is being sought after by the police...yet she has no problem obtaining a passport and flying to Rome, and of course Alex completely trusts Mara despite her trying to kill him. (Sorry if this explication isn't making any sense...the movie never makes an effort to account for this bullshit either) Anyway, the clichd story begins to unfold once the proceedings commence in Rome. Alex learns of a "Sin Eater" in the form of a man named William Eden (Furmann). Basically, a Sin Eater visits the bedsides of dying folk and absorbs their transgressions. Sin Eaters essentially provide a path to heaven outside religion. In return for his services, a Sin Eater becomes fabulously wealthy and is immortal. (This is never adequately addressed either...I mean how can one all of a sudden become wealthy and immortal? Would dead people just pay him?) After a Sin Eater carries out his duties for a few centuries, he needs to pass on the torch. Eden wants to give the task to Alex. For lack of better word, The Order is pure horror tosh: it's excruciating, confusing, convoluted...and after a while it's just plain boring. There is an interesting premise for sure, but the script spoils the potential. Its cardinal sin as a horror movie is never actually scaring the audience, nor intriguing them. It's tagged as a thriller, but nothing is ever thrilling. It provides little exposition as everything seems to be a melodramatic murder mystery, trudging from one senseless half-baked scene to the next. It simply does not work. Even worse is that the film is never entertaining. By the time some "sin eating" actually occurs, we're already bored stiff and cannot feel exhilarated no matter how impressive it looks. The dialogue in particular is boring and contrived. You don't know whether to laugh or shake your head in incredulity. The Order is dark, gloomy, absurd, and predictable. People speak in ambiguous riddles, the humour fails, and the sins themselves rise from people's bodies resembling jellyfish. Then finally the ending (which seems to go on forever) takes a completely conventional turn that's more silly than creepy or exciting. Worst of all there's Heath Ledger (R.I.P) mumbling through his tedious lines. He looks incredibly bored to be there, and I don't blame him. Since his career was already far too short, why did he waste his time on this rubbish? He could have developed a far more successful career before his unfortunate death if only he made the correct decisions. Life's too short to be involved in crappy movies. Shannyn Sossamon also falls flat, as does Mark Addy who never develops any charm or reason to like him at all. Peter Weller of the RoboCop fame should stick with the robotic police officer...he's derisorily awful in his role. There are no redeeming performances at all. The Order fails on practically all only gets credit for trying.

- PvtCaboose91, Wednesday, August 13, 2008

1 star

It started by reminding me of the classic horrors of the 70's such as Don't Look Now and The Exorcist. The visual style and slow build up was all very nice. The build up continued for another hour before landing flat on its face. There seems to be so much talking and explanation that perhaps this would have worked better as a book. Instead it has some interesting ideas but no horror, thrills or anything vaguely interesting. Performances are good, though it's hard to tell with such dull characters. The film just about makes sense with evil demons, hooded men and...actually I'm not so sure it does all make sense. The most fun I had was spotting the eerie premonitions of Ledger's casting in Dark Knight such as a the light through a stain-glass window giving him green hair, and a scene where he is attacked by bats. OMG!

- kiriyamakazou, Friday, August 1, 2008