Director: John Michael McDonagh
Actors: Brendan Gleeson, Chris O’Dowd, Kelly Reilly
Runtime: 100 minutes
Release Date: 3rd July, 2014
Reviewed by Mo
When I first saw the trailer for Calvary, I quietly passed. Priests… and it didn’t look anywhere near as funny as The Guard. I was partly wrong. Priests (played by Brendan Gleeson anyway) can be funny and about 1/3 of Calvary is just as funny as The Guard.
You can understand why it’s only a 1/3 when you’re tackling subject matter such as domestic violence, suicide and pedophilia. The film follows Father James Lavelle who has a week to “put his house in order,” after being told by an unseen man during confessional, that he’s going to kill him. The man plans to murder a good priest, in a twisted form of revenge and in order to shock. Father Lavelle takes it reasonable well.
Gleeson is exception as the intelligent, no bullshit priest, who has a habit of saying just enough and then having the patience to let people come to their own conclusions. The patience of a saint, oh, ha ha. He needs it too: a suicidal daughter, dealing with a parish grappling with an array of problems and a death sentence over his own head. In seven short days he’s a priest pushed to the brink of his faith.
Calvary is a hard film to describe and convey its humour and it certainly doesn’t end as funnily as it starts. But it reminds you that sometimes life is brutal and it’s tough to have faith in a God or even people and if you lose that faith, forgiving is the best way to start afresh. In that vein I apologise to Aidan Gillen for thinking he had a crap accent on Game of Thrones, now I realise that’s just what he sounds like. It also reminded me how much I miss Dylan Moran.