Calvary is a film that punches you in the gut from the first line of dialogue. From that scene on, you and the main character are put on edge, and it’s a journey to see what he will do with such a significant piece of information. The rest of the film is just a series of interactions between this priest and his parishioners which was really fun to watch. However, because of the weight of what he is told at the beginning, none of these moments feel superfluous. It all has a purpose for him, and I suspect much of it has a deeper symbolic meaning (that I’d love to explore.) Also, for the viewer it all feels a bit like a mystery, as we try to deduce the identity of the man from the first scene.
I loved this aspect to the full story, and it kept me on the edge of my seat despite the fact that the film takes its time. Under other circumstances I think I’d call a film like this boring, but because they hooked me early, I was happy to go along for the ride. Brendan Gleeson is just marvelous in the lead role because he has a kindly nature, but also can be harsh and brutally honest. We are allowed to see his weaknesses and his strengths and it’s easy to get on his side. The scenes with his daughter (played by Kelly Reilly) were particularly poignant, and their final phone conversation felt like the writer/director spelling out the thesis statement of the entire film within just a few lines of dialogue. The ending of Calvary is a tough one to watch specially online, but not totally unexpected. It left me wanting a little more, so I could know what happened next, but I suppose that’s the sign of a successful film when you’re left wanting instead of getting too much. Calvary is a movie that did a great job of impacting me, but I suspect it won’t be until the second or third time I see it that I will fully understand what John Michael McDonagh was doing with this film. Of course, the fact that I want to free download the movie and watch it again once or twice is a very good sign.
Stars : Brendan Gleeson, Chris O'Dowd, Kelly Reilly
For a Catholic priest in modern day small town Ireland life is no imagined bed of roses. The locals, some friendly and some not to the Church in general, are not the simpletons of days past, bestowing respect and awe simply for form's sake, oh no. They're a cynical lot and proud to let our priest know about it. And he's got a daughter from before playing at suicide. And there's somebody out to kill him. What's a priest to do? Gleeson, like a laborer with a too heavy load trudging uphill, let's us know with grunts and grimace's. By the time we reach the top of the hill, we are at home in the confessional with him. A superior work by a old hand at it.
User 2 Review:
A rather sombre film that attempts to tackle a subject that is painful to a lot of people by injecting a dose of dark humour into it, and with Gleeson putting in another fantastic performance, practically carrying the entire thing on his own, it almost manages to pull it off. Unfortunately, it spends too much time aimlessly beating around the bush and by the end, you can't help but feel that it didn't have much to say and should have delved deeper considering the topic that is presented.
User 3 Review:
I am seriously surprised to discover that apart from Brendan Glesson, also his son Domnhall appeared in this movie (discover him if you can, but it's totally unrecognizable!).
So, it seems that Martin is not the only one in the McDonagh family able of making great movies (and also very bad to be honest). Glad to have watched this very nice movie yesterday night, an in between a black comedy and a drama, perfectly mixed together.
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