Calvary

Calvary

(2013)

Killing a priest on Sunday, that'll be a good one.

Black comedy starring Brendan Gleeson (In Bruges) as a good-natured Irish Catholic priest who, while trying to believe the best of his parishioners, is continually shocked by the spiteful and confrontational inhabitants of his small country town. Dark thoughts begin to take over when his life is threatened during confession. Co-stars fellow Irish thespians Chris O'Dowd, Dylan Moran and Kelly Reilly. From the director of The Guard, which also starred Gleeson.

Flicks Review

Named after the site where Jesus was crucified – though set in rural Ireland – John Michael McDonagh's follow-up to The Guard manages to provoke both thought and laughter, while saying something profound about the human soul.... More

Its first – show-stopping – scene finds worldly wise Father James (Brendan Gleeson) in the confession booth. “I first tasted semen when I was seven years old,” begins an unseen penitent, before detailing his abuse by a priest. “Certainly a startling opening line,” offers Father James. Though he admits James himself is innocent, the anonymous abusee promises to kill him in an act of abstract, symbolic vengeance against the church, giving him time to “get his house in order” first. “Sunday week, let's say,” he decides, brightly.

Steeped in this mixture of death and daftness, the film counts down to his inevitable reckoning, while we work out which of the eccentric parishioners (including familiar faces Chris O'Dowd, Dylan Moran and Aiden Gillen) is going to do the deed, like a clerical Cluedo. James knows, but instead of trying to escape, he tends to his flock's many spiritual woes (adultery, drugs, detachment) with grace and good humour, a decent man failing valiantly. “Take a pew,” he tells one wryly. “Literally.”

As the film builds and bumbles towards its devastating climax, McDonagh interposes gorgeous helicopter shots of the sea and sky, as if God were watching passively as these preordained events play out. When it's over, you'll find a contemplative hush has descended on the audience: a cinema turned, briefly, into a church.Hide


The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 11 ratings, 11 reviews
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BY Gerd superstar

See Rewa’s review further up, I have nothing else to add.


BY freshdude superstar

On first viewing I (and everyone in the audience) was so shocked and engrossed in the story and the characters that I hardly dared to allow myself to laugh at the plentiful humour; instead I concentrated on digesting the brilliant food for thought on offer.
On my second viewing I literally laughed my way through the film to the surprise and almost outrage of first time viewers in the audience.
WHAT A FILM !


BY thorinoak superstar

Fantastic throughout until the ending climax but worth to see for the wonderful performance by Brendan Gleeson.


BY Rewa nobody

I went with a group of five and at the end we laughed because we thought this film so ridiculous. Good points- acting, scenery. Bad points - ludicrous storyline, dark and sinister overtones throughout, so bad it ended up as a joke. I wouldn't care except I'd rather see a decent film if I am going to the trouble to take a group out to the movies. I'd seriously give it a miss. The trailers had the only lighter moments in the film, so any that there are, you've seen them.


Over hyped. No matter how I watched it, it was like watching a whole lot of dramas unfolding in everyday life. I can catch that on TV. Only good thing about this drama was, it had an ending.


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The Press Reviews

91% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • Anchored by a truly sensational performance from Gleeson, this unexpected blend of passion play, detective story, rural comedy and serious inquiry into faith is destined for classic status. Full Review

  • Calvary is gripping, moving, funny and troubling, down to an uncompromising yet uncynical finish. Full Review

  • The film offers a mordantly funny survey of small-town iniquity that morphs, almost imperceptibly, into a deeply felt lament for a fallen world. Full Review

  • [A] wickedly funny black comedy, all fatalism and gallows humour, with both a beating heart and an inquiring mind lingering beneath its tough-guy bluster. Full Review

  • It's puckish and playful, mercurial and clever, rattling with gallows laughter as it paints a portrait of an Irish community that is at once intimate and alienated. Full Review

  • Confessions don’t usually end with someone threatening to murder the priest Sunday week. This person isn’t seeking forgiveness, he is seeking retribution... a rather unique possible murder mystery. Full Review

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