Calvary*, 2014

B. Gleeson, Calvary/image: redcarpets.com
B. Gleeson, Calvary/image: redcarpets.com

Brendan Gleeson has some acting chops. He’s got such a believable style and It doesn’t seem like he’s acting. I can’t really articulate it but he’s truly gifted at his craft. Also, I think just about every movie I’ve seem him in he steals the show. He’s who I always remember, and he is an awesome leading man with a co starring man’s face. And in this latest John Michael McDonagh film, he’s much of the same kind of first-rate actor as in earlier films, like Gangs of New York, In Bruges, and Edge of Tomorrow all films where he is in a co-starring role.  It’s nice when actors can go from leading man to co star and back again with ease. 

The Premise…

Set in Ireland Gleeson, plays the main character Father James Lavelle, a catholic priest who joined the monastery late in life, after he was married with a child. The reason he was able to become a priest, is because his wife had died and his daughter was grown. As he made his vows after all that happened which is something that didn’t seem possible in the catholic church but maybe so? So as he goes through his days of helping his parish by doing his normal priestly duties like, going into the confession room, and helping people in hospital with the loss of a loved one. He’s faced with a proposition and is threatened with his life, and not for anything bad that he’s done as a priest but this person has something against him. As he seems pretty sure of who it is they didn’t show their face so he can’t be certain.

B. Gleeson, K. Reilly/image: www.nola.com
B. Gleeson, K. Reilly/image: http://www.nola.com

The writer/director John M. McDonagh makes pretty twisted black comedies, and usually his work is interesting. But here the movie is long and slow-moving, and not in a way that is entertaining. It kind of drags on and on. Of McDonagh’s earlier work like, In Bruges, The Guard, Seven Psychopaths, and now Calvary, this film is the least fun to watch. Mostly because Gleeson is carrying the film on his shoulders, and there are so many other actors in the film not doing much of anything but complaining. First there’s his daughter, Kelly Reilly then the butcher, Chris O’Dowd, and the forensics specialist, Aidan Gillen,  etc.

The Sum Up…

By the time you get to the end of the movie you’re so ready for something to happen it’s almost too much. Also, all the character’s in the film convey an utter disdain for the catholic church or just religion in general, that you kind of wonder why did McDonagh want to write this movie? I wasn’t sure of the message or the plot. With quite a big cast I expected more, that said, every scene that Gleeson is in is pretty exceptional but the material didn’t have legs or anything real to say. With it’s very good cinematography, and interesting characters, I wish the writing was clearer. This is unfortunate too because I’m an avid fan of McDonagh’s work. This movie overall gets a B ~ NOTE WORTHY, see either in theaters or on DVD but see it. For the wonderful acting by Gleeson. It also gets a Safety Alert, for language, subject matter and some disturbing scenes of violence which is classic McDonagh style, not a family film by far, this movie is rated R.

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