SIMON SAYS: Calvary (2014)

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 Calvary (2014) – dir. John Michael McDonagh

Having loved In Bruges (2008) thoroughly enjoyed The Guard (2011), I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from Brendan Gleeson’s latest film, but having experienced a strict Catholic education, I was always going to watch it.

The film opens with the dreaded confessional box and an anonymous parishioner informing Fr. James (Gleeson) that from the age of 7 he was abused appallingly by a nameless Catholic priest, so, in a week’s time – he announces that he is going to kill him as a means of retribution.

The viewer then goes on a journey where they are introduced to a number of other members of the congregation, most of whom could have a motive for making the threat.

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Meanwhile, Fr. James, of course, has a few skeletons in his own closet and we see how, after all the recent scandals, the Catholic Church is no longer held in the high regard that it once was in Ireland.

Although there is a smattering of darkly comic moments, this is by and large a moving drama in which Fr. James begins to doubt his own faith and Gleeson plays the part well with a subtle sense of fragility and humility… In short, a good little film!

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