Underrated: Calvary (2014) Review

4/5* Shiv’s Show | Siobhan Divers

Dir: John Michael McDonagh

101 mins

Starring: Brendan Gleeson, Chris O’Dowd, Kelly Reilly, Aidan Gillen, Dylan Moran, Isaach de Bankolé, M. Emmet Walsh, Marie-Josée Croze, Domhnall Gleeson, David Wilmot, Orla O’Rourke.

A memorable, religious black comedy with a strong ensemble, Calvary is a terrific film from writer-director John Michael McDonagh.

A whodunnit film with a twist, Father James (Brendan Gleeson) receives a death threat from an unknown man in a dark catholic confessional. The unseen man explains that he was sexually abused as a child by a priest and rather than kill an abusive priest, he has decided to kill a good man as this will impact the church community more. The man gives Father James a week to arrange his affairs and tells him that his death will take place on the beach.

And the killer could be anyone. All the locals are as bad as each other and sin is everywhere.

It could be the local butcher (Chris O’Dowd) who has hit his unfaithful wife (Orla O’Rourke). It could be her lover (Isaach de Bankolé). Millionaire (Dylan Moran) is also a suspect – as his family has deserted him and he feels directionless and detached from reality. Then there’s a questionable pub owner (Pat Shortt) and doctor (Aidan Gillen).

Brendan Gleeson’s performance is immense and second to none. The Harry Potter actor commands the audience’s attention from start to finish.

His son Domhnall Gleeson (About Time, Black Mirror, Harry Potter) even makes an appearance as a killer who ate his female victims, now asking for forgiveness.

An engaging mystery film with some scenes of dark comedy and intense drama, Calvary is intriguing and enjoyable and extremely underrated.

The strong performance of Brendan Gleeson carries the plot which is still original and enthralling throughout.

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