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:
Brendan Gleeson, Chris O'Dowd
Rental Formats:
DVD, Blu-ray

Product Details

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

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By GlynLuke TOP 500 REVIEWER on 21 April 2014
Format: DVD
Beginning in the confessional - one of the best opening scenes to any film I can remember - with mighty Brendan Gleeson as Father James hearing, in his words, `the most astounding opening line` he`s been privy to as a priest, this bracingly original film then becomes both a kind of thriller and an exploration of a small, enclosed society, a village in rural Ireland in which the Catholic church and its resident priest (not to mention his tactless junior assistant priest) appear to be almost universally despised.
Gleeson is rampantly riveting in the central role, with Dylan Moran note-perfect as a wealthy alcoholic and lord of the manor - the best acting I`ve yet to see from my favourite comedian.
But the revelation is Chris O`Dowd, who seems to be in everything at the moment. He`s brilliant as the volatile local butcher, his scenes both simmering with danger and totally credible.
The way Gleeson`s increasingly isolated priest interacts with the community is very well portrayed, until you feel that virtually the whole town has a literally communal grudge that is never fully explained, merely implied in the increasing tensions between them.
This is an adult, intelligent and witty film that offers no easy answers while asking some uncomforatble questions, mostly about Catholic culpability - yes, the issue of paedophilia raises its head, in a brilliantly conceived scene with a little girl in which the innocent Father James is left looking openly wounded - and the very position of a priest in these troubling times. Gleeson shirks none of the implications of his part, nor does director John Micheal McDonagh (whose previous film was the enjoyable The Guard, also with Gleeson).
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By C. Davis on 27 April 2014
Format: DVD
I saw this on the cinema last week and have been telling everyone about it ever since. It's totally compelling. I checked afterwards to see if it was based on a novel as I'd have immediately bought it but it's an original screenplay by John Michael McDonagh who apparently also wrote The Guard. Needless to say I'll be buying the latter the next time I'm looking for a DVD! The film was partially shot in County Sligo and friends who used to have a farm there say that some of the characters are worryingly realistic! Though it has many blackly humorous moments this is ultimately a very moving and thought provoking film.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By R. J. Lister on 22 May 2014
Format: DVD
John Michael McDonagh burst onto the Irish black comedy scene in 2010 with The Guard, an amusingly obscene odd couple crime movie in which Brendan Gleeson played a crass cop alongside Don Cheadle's fish-out-of-water FBI agent. For his follow-up, McDonagh has created something more substantial, expansive, and moving. If it overreaches in its existential considerations then it never does so boringly - there's always a right angle in the plot lying in wait.

Gleeson's character couldn't be more different to Sergeant Gerry Boyle. Father James Lavelle is an eminently wise and decent man, weathered by grief and a growing disillusionment with a world that has replaced God with nothing. In the opening scene he is told in confession that he will be murdered in one week. Day by day we watch as he interrogates the disparate inhabitants of rural Sligo - a population of wife-beaters and alcoholics who say they loathe him for his sanctimoniousness, but more likely envy him for not losing hope. His ray of light is his daughter, played by Kelly Reilly, who's on the verge of suicide.

McDonagh's outlook appears bleak, but I would say this is a film that explores the nature of bleakness rather than being bleak itself. It's a film about death; how we face life's ultimate given. It's not a comedy. It's not even a black comedy. Characters draw attention to jokes and irony where they arise, acknowledging humour as a defence against the inevitable void. With Patrick Cassidy's aching music, the film is awash with tragedy. But always there is the anchor of the Father: the base camp of goodness to which we return. He embodies true faith, with all its agony and thanklessness and sacrifice.

This is a career-best performance from Gleeson, who expertly portrays every emotion available to man.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By JANE IRELAND on 31 May 2014
Format: DVD
It is now Saturday and I saw the film on Thursday. It is a film I will think about for the rest of my life. The Catholic Church has been crucified by the scandals and this film lays bare it's pain. The pity and anger for the suffering children who have been abused is finely balanced against the pain of the good priests who have done nothing wrong and now are treated with contempt by their parishioners. It reminds me of High Noon.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Antenna TOP 500 REVIEWER on 23 April 2014
Format: DVD
On the bleakly beautiful coast of Sligo, Father Lavelle ministers to his eccentric flock of sinners with compassion leavened by dry wit, and tolerates his blinkered sidekick. A widower and former alcoholic, Lavelle is no unworldly paragon of virtue. In the opening scene, a disembodied voice in the confessional box calmly announces the intention of killing him on the beach the following Sunday, not in spite of but because of the fact that Lavelle is essentially a good man. This will be some kind of confused way of obtaining closure for childhood abuse at the hands of another priest. How should Lavelle respond to this threat?

The film follows the course of Lavelle's life for the following week with an element of "whodunnit" in advance. Can we guess the identity of the would-be assassin? This is not really the point, which is whether, in modern fractured and increasingly secular Ireland, the sacrifice or "Calvary" of a Catholic priest can have any meaning. By turns satirical and serious, and overall quite original, the film is patchily successful - some characters are too caricatured and the dialogue is at times somewhat contrived, as in the case of the local police chief's grotesquely camp and sinister lover - or that's what I took him to be.

The one small detail which grated on me was a local corrupt banker's apparent ownership of Holbein's painting "The Ambassadors", which everyone knows to be in the National Gallery, London - I accept this may have been intended as a touch of humour. Overall, the film is worth watching, although it takes a period of reflection to form a judgement on the ending. The musical soundtrack is also good.
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