Review: Calvary

25 Jul 14

Another Great McDonagh/Gleeson Movie

That’s what I felt as I walked out of the sixteen seat, boutique room at the Academy Cinema, Auckland, where I watched ‘Calvary.’ The dialogue was intelligently written and weaves its way through the subject religion in a way which I – as a staunch atheist – felt was very accessible and tasteful, something I was worried about. On top of that, thanks to Brendan Gleeson’s splendidly endearing performance it was a movie I could become genuinely invested in.

But holy crap was it darker than I expected.

Now, my expectations may be entirely at fault here, but if you go into this movie expecting another ‘The Guard’ then it is my sworn duty as a man with a keyboard to warn you now: this movie is a multitude of shades darker than The Guard.

You will watch as almost literally every character spills their various troubles onto the big (or in our case somewhat moderately sized) screen, and you will watch as they all get progressively more screwed up and unfixable. That being said, it does make for a dramatic, interesting, and emotional movie, and after wading through my local Event Cinemas line up of terrible popcorn movies, I was glad to see a bit of emotion!

It’s not perfect, obviously. There are some poor performances by some of the supporting cast, but they still feel quite easy to watch. It’s like watching a genuine little Irish community struggling to cope with the big bad world. It makes you feel like a part of the community, in a way, much like The Guard did as well. There are also a few scenes and characters that weren’t entirely necessary - and a few other loose ends that never got tied up - but that’s not what will linger as you exit the cinema.

Truth be told it’s the ending that you’ll be talking about. It’s the ending I’ve seen other people write about, certainly. It’s a good ending to talk about – though not necessarily a good ending. I think it’s the only way this movie could have ended, but that’s just me. You have to see it for yourself, I think.

Overall it’s a wonderful movie to watch. Not at all a happy movie, and it takes ‘black comedy’ in the blackest of senses, but it’s a definite must see this film festival and I strongly suggest you head along. There are plenty of independent cinemas playing it where you can get cheap tickets so you have no excuse!