Calvary Movie Review
What would you do if a man told you he was going to kill you in just a few days’ time… for something you had nothing to do with? Such is the dilemma facing a small-town priest in Calvary, a surprisingly effective drama starring Brendan Gleeson.
The movie begins with a confession: a man was abused by a priest when he was a boy, and he is going to kill Father James--a good priest who has no connection to the crime--because doing so will be more disconcerting to the Catholic Church than killing a priest who deserves it.
Talk about unfair punishment.
The rest of the movie has the good-natured James visiting various parishioners and other individuals as he tries to figure out what to do--does he meet the “anonymous” man at the requested time, or does he do what a rational person would do and go the police? Along the way, he encounters all kinds of crazy individuals:
- A man who is accused of beating his wife
- A millionaire who is obsessed with power and is willing to literally piss on priceless paintings to prove it
- Father James’ own daughter, who recently attempted to commit suicide
Gleeson delivers a great performance as his character navigates the minefield of individual sin. Despite a relatively short running time, writer/director John Michael McDonagh paints an intricate picture of complicated characters, each with their dark secrets and disturbing--but very human--thoughts. The movie is depressing, but its ending is memorable and profound.
Calvary isn’t for everyone, but it is one of the better movies of 2014.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.