Calvary 2013

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After he is threatened during a confession, a good-natured priest must battle the dark forces closing in around him.

Starring:
Kelly Reilly, Dylan Moran
Rental Formats:
DVD, Blu-ray

Product Details

Discs
  • Feature ages_15_and_over
Runtime 1 hour 41 minutes
Starring Kelly Reilly, Dylan Moran, Chris O'Dowd, Brendan Gleeson, Aidan Gillen
Director John Michael McDonagh
Genres Comedy
Studio E1 Films
Rental release 11 August 2014
Main languages English
Hearing impaired subtitles English
Discs
  • Feature ages_15_and_over
Runtime 1 hour 41 minutes
Starring Kelly Reilly, Dylan Moran, Chris O'Dowd, Brendan Gleeson, Aidan Gillen
Director John Michael McDonagh
Genres Comedy
Studio E1 Films
Rental release 11 August 2014
Main languages English
Hearing impaired subtitles English

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 41 people found the following review helpful By James Argles on 8 Nov. 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is simply one of the most important films about faith, doubt, humanity, inhumanity, the strengths and weaknesses of religion and the myriad vagaries of humanity that I've ever seen.

The balance of intense drama, raven-black comedy and wrenching pathos is as perfectly achieved as one could wish. Aristotle defined tragedy as a mixture of pity and fear - in that sense, this film plays out a particularly human tragedy.

The supporting cast - with special mention to Aidan Gillen - is brilliant. The uncredited "character" of the Irish land- and sea-scape plays a powerful part too.

Cinematography and script and score? Gripping on all counts.

Gleeson? No point hoping for an Oscar, they don't award them for performances this good. It's impossible to describe the subtlety and range of what he does... Every nuance captured but not overdone, every shade of emotion employed which finds a hotline into the priest's inner being. This is surely one of THE great film roles.

A stone-cold shocker of an ending, which left me reeling, grieving, and in a state of pre-cathartic turmoil. And I don't even believe in God.

That's the long version. The short version is:

If you love film, watch this film.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ormsirk Writer on 20 Mar. 2015
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
In this ultimately bleak, but often warming story from County Sligo, John Michael McDonagh has constructed an arresting and compelling journey through the angst of modern Ireland.
The journey takes the form of a completely ‘unholy’ week in the life of a priest, who is played with dignity and considerable warmth by Brendan Gleeson. As a Dad and widower with a late vocation, Father James seems to embody less of the traumatic legacies of the Catholic Church in Ireland. However, the moment he has to listen, from his confessional, to the film’s shocking opening line, we know that he will be held accountable for Catholicism and the country’s wider ills. In that dark moment, he is told that he will pay the ultimate price for the sins of other Fathers, being sacrificed, Christ-like, as a ‘good priest’.
And his very goodness is subsequently corrupted by his fear and indecision about who to relate the threat to, and how; the supercilious bishop is cordially unhelpful, while a retired police friend is as sceptical as he is cynical about the cleric’s plight. Understandably, his troubled daughter (played with great edginess by Kelly Reilly) is spared any hint of the present danger, but, when Father James decides to fly out of the area to avoid his appointment with death, there’s a sense of relief: why would you stay to be killed?
Yet, as it turns out, there is to be no easy escape for the priest. The dysfunctional cocktail of his parishioners’ woes and self-destructive cynicism tugs him back for a final act of self-abasement.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Victoria Craven on 12 Feb. 2015
Format: DVD
Father James (Brendan Gleeson) is hearing confession when a parishioner reveals he was sexually abused by a priest from the age of seven. He informs him he’s going to kill Father James a week from Sunday, as killing an innocent priest is more shocking than killing a bad one. (This isn’t a spoiler–it happens in the first two minutes.)

The priest then goes about his week as usual–meeting with people, comforting the sick, etc. He does take advice from the local bishop on the situation, though decides himself how to handle it. He settles his daughter (Kelly Reilly), who returns from London for a rest in Ireland after another suicide attempt into his house.

The Father has truly philosophical conversations with a local emergency room doctor (Aiden Gillen) when called in to perform last rites. And does his best to help an aged, possibly dying parishioner, who wishes to end his life on his own terms.

He tries to mediate the marital conflict between Jack Brennan (Chris O’Dowd) and his wife (Orla O’Rourke), after she arrives at church with a blackened eye. That situation is more complicated than at first glance; as is everything else in this film.

Another person in the picture is a wealthy new landowner played by Dylan Moran, whose role offers a bit of levity, but it’s the dark sort of levity at which the Irish excel. There are other moments of humour but the overall tone is a grim one.

Every male becomes suspect to the viewer (Father James says he knows who it is). He vacillates between saving himself and sacrificing himself.

The week carries on with its joys and woes–no one else the wiser. The person who’s threatened the Father ramps up his campaign of intimidation.

The denouement is tense and startling and satisfactory.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Neil Lennon on 22 Aug. 2014
Format: Blu-ray
"Calvary" is the second collaboration between director John McDonagh and actor Brendan Gleeson. It concerns a priest in a village on the West Coast of Ireland whose life is threatened in the confessional by someone who claims to have been sexually abused by a priest as a child. Brendan Gleeson's priest is not threatened because he is suspected of similar abuses but specifically because he is a 'good priest'. He is given a week to put his affairs in order, after which he is told he will be killed.

All of this happens in the opening minutes of the film, setting the stage for what is essentially a who-dunnit before the actual crime takes place. You are introduced to numerous quirky, colourful characters who inhabit the village, any of which could have been the anonymous voice from the confessional. As the week goes by its clear the inhabitants of this village are far from good catholics, and there is an obvious moral decay in the community. All of which makes a lot of sense, as the title "Calvary" refers to the place where Christ was crucified, and Brendan Gleeson's priest becomes almost a Christ like figure, taking the blame for the sins of others.

If this sounds rather heavy going it's lightened by John McDonagh's wicked sense of humour and there are a number of scenes that are laugh out loud funny. If you liked the humour in his first film "The Guard" you will find the same style here. Brendan Gleeson is very good, as usual, able to portray the doubts and compassion of his character with equal depth. One criticism I might make though is that several of the other characters are portrayed by well known comic actors and their acting abilities are not quite as convincing in a film like this as opposed to a more light hearted sit com.
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