I am such a huge fan of Brendan Gleeson and for that reason I keep an eye on his output. A lot of his movies don’t make the mainstream press and this one was no different, hopping in and out of the cinema fairly quickly. Usually the ones that don’t make mass appeal are the one set in Ireland with a very Irish lilt to it. The Guard for example falls into this bucket as do many others that will pop up in this review series later on.
The setup for the movie is established in the first scene. Gleeson plays a local preacher who is receiving confession from someone who states he is going to be murdered in a few days to atone for the sins of the church. Gleeson is a good natured priest who tends to his parish as best as possible while they all deal with their sins.
He isn’t as stressed about this information as you may think, with him maybe taking solace that this may be a higher powers will and he is being tested. So he travels around his parish, helping his parishioners through their sins while trying to determine which one of them has issued the threat to kill him.
As with The Guard, the humor in this movie is black. In other words, guilty laughter is willed throughout the story.
Gleeson’s son (Domhnall Gleeson of About Time fame) pops up as one of those he visits. Must have been strange as well as an honor to act as well as they both did off one another, father and son.
This movie I think is a little better than the The Guard, but it is a close call. Gleeson plays that worn out, pragmatic priest to perfection and given some great lines that are delivered in that dead pan, mater of fact manner.
Father James Lavelle: I’ve always felt there’s something inherently psychopathic about joining the army in peace time, as far as I’m concerned people join the army to find out what its like to kill someone. I hardly think that’s an inclination that should be encouraged in modern society, do you?
Calvary is a great movie that wouldn’t have worked without the cast chosen. It is a movie that has a wonderful repeat-ability with you gaining a little more from each viewing. Take it for a spin, and if you all in love with it, then check out the The Guard.
#76 in the series
Monday, 2nd November 2015 (Richmond)