Run time: 101mins
Director: John Michael McDonagh
Cast: Brendan Gleeson, Kelly Reilly, Chris O’Dowd, Aiden Gillen, Kelly Reilly, Dylan Moran, Domnhall Gleeson, M.Emmet Walsh, Pat Shortt
Synopsis: Father James Lavelle (Brendan Gleeson) is a good man intent on making his small County Sligo parish a better place. After receiving a death threat during confession, he has just one week to battle the dark forces closing in around him.
Surely destined to one of the films of the year, this diabolically dark comedy from John Michael McDonagh (The Guard) features a blistering, spellbinding performance from Brendan Gleeson as the likeable, good but flawed, priest of a parish that is hardly Craggy Island.
In what must be one of the most startling opening lines both in a film and a confessional box, Father James learns that a parishioner, who has been sexually abused as a child by a priest (now dead), intends to kill him – a good priest – in retribution and gives him a week to put his life in order.
Father James has been married, has an adult daughter, Fiona (Kelly Reilly) and has dealt with an alcohol problem. His flock are a motley crew of sinners who could have come from a Caravaggio painting, but without the acts of mercy depicted by that master artist. They include a jaded, depressed and dissatisfied financier (Dylan Moran); a weak and cuckolded butcher (Chris O’Dowd); an atheistic, cocaine-sniffing doctor (Aiden Gillen); a cannibal killer (Domnhall Gleeson) and a reclusive novelist (M. Emmet Walsh). The strong and outstanding ensemble character cast beautifully foreground Gleeson’s masterly performance.
With breathtaking, panoramic cinematography from Larry Smith and an apt and memorable music score from Patrick Cassidy, Calvary with its myriad deep human themes of compassion, faith, hope and fatalism will resonate and stay with you.
Images courtesy of Entertainment One UK