Posted by: greercn | April 25, 2014


Brendan Gleeson is magnificent in this allegory and state-of-the-nation tale of modern Ireland.

Much here is self-knowing and the lines can be a little too ironic, but “Calvary” is a clever and beautifully-made film which makes you think about individual and collective responsibility, faith, religion and community.

As in “The Guard”, you just can’t take your eyes off Gleeson. John Michael McDonagh writes and directs.

It’s great to watch a movie with real philosophical and intellectual heft that is still very entertaining.

Calvary is the place outside Jerusalem where Jesus was crucified, according to Christianity. It’s also known as Golgotha and is said to be shaped like a skull.

We meet Father James Lavelle (Gleeson) in the confessional. One of his church attendees announces that he is going to kill him, in a week.

Then, we follow Father James through the next week. We meet all the suspects, his colleagues and family. If you’re an animal lover, you’ll adore his pet dog.

Although Gleeson dominates, everyone in the cast has great moments. Chris O’Dowd, Kelly Reilly, Aidan Gillen, Isaach de Bankole, Dylan Moran, M Emmet Walsh and Orla O’Rourke are all very good.

Marie-Josee Croze is extremely touching in a small but crucial part. And Domhnall Gleeson (Brendan’s son) has a very chilling scene.

The respectful and silent audience at the Stratford East Picturehouse were all very involved with the story. As one person said, afterwards, I think I have to see it again, now that I know the whole story.

Sligo looks fabulous. Is this the beginning of big progress for the Irish film industry? “The Guard” and “Calvary” are the first two parts of a trilogy and the third movie is titled “The Lame Shall Enter First”.

I could watch movies as good as this is again and again. And again.


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