CALVARY – Rated R
Director and Writer John Michael McDonagh brings us a tail of a previously married priest, and the parishioners of his flock who keep him on his toes, with his new dark drama – CALVARY.
After losing his wife, Father James (Brendan Gleeson) decides to take the oath of the frock, as he refocuses his own life to saving his fellow man though the priesthood. When a parishioner visits him in the confessional one evening, he is startled at the facts this particular individual is sharing. As the parishioner divulges his abuse allegations over a prior priest of the parish, he also shares with the good father that the only way to rid himself of the sins that were committed against him, is by killing the Father the following Sunday.
Father James has some inclination that parishioner Jack Brennan (Chris O’Dowd) is the man who wants him dead – but he really can’t be sure – as many of the parishioners are making statements that allude to that they too might be just mad enough to want to kill him.
As Father makes his rounds around the community, trying to assist people in their desperate search to make their lives better, he decides to share with the Bishop his concerns over his life being threatened.
When Father James own life is turned as upside down as the rest of his followers by the attempted suicide of his own daughter Fiona (Kelly Reilly), he tries to refocus his efforts in her direction, hoping she too will be able to find her way.
As the days tick by, and Father James awaits Sundays arrival – his church is suddenly burnt to the ground – and shortly thereafter his dog is killed – making this ONE HELL OF A WEEK!
Will Father James be able to stop this parishioner who wants to end his life? Will his daughter Fiona be able to gain control of her life, and keep the men that keep destroying her at a distance? And will the numerous crazy parishioners of the parish be able to pull it together to help themselves and Father James when the time of his own death may come?
I give CALVERY 2 out of 5 stars – I haven’t seen a film this dark in quite some time – as even the attempts to make the viewer laugh seem very dark and sick at best. Gleeson plays a great Irish Catholic Priest, but the craziness he is subjected to at every turn, by everyone in town, just gets monotonous. I feel that the storyline hits close to home for me, as the abuse scandal of priests through numerous decades is a constant thorn in my side as a practicing catholic, which may have added to my dislike of this film too, as I found myself wanting to leave the theater about 45 minutes in, but being a good critic, I stayed till the bitter end. I had quite of few other people share with me when leaving the theater that they were sickened by this film, and not because of the storyline, but because of the dark drama and excessive violence contained within. Needless to say, CALVARY is definitely not a must see film for me, as I would rather listen to nails on a chalkboard, than to be subjected to viewing it again.