Autumn 2014 Features series
Sunday, November 23, 2014 at 4:00pm
Sunday, November 23, 2014 at 7:00pm
Directed by John Michael McDonagh
Screenplay by John Michael McDonagh
Starring Brendan Gleeson, Chris O'Dowd, and Kelly Reilly
Rated 14A ·
Ireland / UK
In his follow-up to The Guard, writer and director John Michael McDonagh returns with a superbly written, darkly funny and powerfully moving mystery set in a sleepy coastal village in County Sligo, Ireland.
Anchored by a magnificent central performance from McDonagh’s Guard star Brendan Gleeson (Albert Nobbs, In Bruges), Calvary focuses on local parish priest Father James (Gleeson), who, after receiving a death threat from one of his parishioners during confession, spends what he believes to be the last week of his life pondering whether he has made any difference at all to his community.
Though Father James apparently knows the identity of his would-be murderer, he is more concerned about the struggling souls around him than his own fate, and calmly goes about his weekly rounds in this quiet village where all is not as it seems. One by one, the assorted villagers (and potential suspects) are given a chance to tell their variously unhappy stories: a smug local tycoon (Dylan Moran, Good Vibrations), the cuckolded butcher (Chris O’Dowd, The Sapphires), his promiscuous wife (Orla O’Rourke), her surly lover (Isaach De Bankolé, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly), a disillusioned cop (Gary Lydon, The Guard), and a cynical doctor (Aidan Gillen, HBO’s Game of Thrones and The Wire). At the same time, Father James is visited by his troubled daughter Fiona (Kelly Reilly, Edwin Boyd: Citizen Gangster), the result of his tragic marriage in the years before he joined the priesthood. In each encounter, the benevolent priest patiently argues for the value of the Church—and of faith in general—in a modern society increasingly skeptical of this seemingly archaic institution.
Featuring lively performances, spectacular scenery, and crackling dialogue, Calvary offers a contemplative portrait of faith and guilt. Filled with fierce gallows humour and touching compassion, it is a must-see for believers and agnostics alike.
“Anchored by a truly sensational performance from Gleeson, this unexpected blend of passion play, detective story, rural comedy and serious inquiry into faith is destined for classic status.” (Andrew Lowry, Total Film)
“On the strength of only two films, McDonagh and Gleeson are a director/star team on a par with Ford/Wayne, Fellini/Mastroianni or Scorsese/De Niro. Calvary is gripping, moving, funny and troubling, down to an uncompromising yet uncynical finish.” (Kim Newman, Empire)
“Calvary boasts a sharp sense of place and a deep love of language. It’s puckish and playful, mercurial and clever, rattling with gallows laughter as it paints a portrait of an Irish community that is at once intimate and alienated.” (Xan Brooks, The Guardian)