Billy's Film Reviews.

A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!

Calvary – 2014


There once was a man named James. James was a priest in a small, seaside Irish town and was a well renowned man.
A popular figure amongst the townsfolk, James appeared to have an inviting presence about him; many would seek guidance and assistance from him that spread out further than his occupation.
Likeable, polite and experienced, James seemed to be a ‘perfect’ man citizen; so why would someone want to kill him?

John Micheal McDonagh’s latest picture “Calvary” stars Brendan Gleeson; (“The Guard”, also directed by McDonagh) telling the story of Father James and his impending doom.
When informed at an everyday confession that he is going to be killed in a week simply because he has not done anything wrong, Father James sets out to find the threatening individual and convince them otherwise.
Calvary-2The premise is a highly original one, and the layout of the narrative is structured very well. For what is essentially a series of discussions between Father James and various townspeople regarding the subject of forthcoming death, “Calvary” is a smart, funny and dark picture.
Father James is a well rounded protagonist who appears to accept everything for what it is. He is calm, approachable and sadly, quite a lonely man who aids so many on a regular basis. This means that when there is in fact some raw emotion expressed, it is amplified immensely simply through contrast.

The citizens of the town are diverse and very unique. Each conversation is unlike the last, and this works ever so well in creating mystery around the matter at hand. From a curious and socially awkward youth to an outgoing butcher, the supporting cast are excellent in creating mistrust and insecurity within Father James and thus, the audience.
The supporting talent also includes some recognisable names in Chris O’Dowd, Kelly Reilly, Aidan Gillen, Dylan Moran and Domhnall Gleeson, all of which are very good in creating a sense of disillusion and intrigue.

Calvary_81“Calvary” is a film that delves deep into topics such as death, sex, wealth and religion regularly, but what is different about “Calvary” with it’s darkly comedic aspects is that these topics are discussed bluntly and openly without euphemistically beating around the bush.
The dialogue-heavy narrative explores how certain genders, religions, demographics and societies view death, wealth, sex and religion, all making for many statements to unfold following the film’s conclusion.

A slow-paced dark comedy, “Calvary” is not your average thriller, however it possesses a lot of qualities that would classify it as a thriller.
A simplistic but sophisticated structure shapes the story very well and the performances throughout are excellent, in particular, leading man Brendan Gleeson. With one of the most original synopses of the year, “Calvary” is definitely worth a watch.



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