HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Jailbreak Pact
News of the World
Dementer
Beyond Clueless
Stylist, The
Sky is On Fire, The
Wrong Turn
In a Year with 13 Moons
Blush
Strange Affair of Uncle Harry, The
Sinners, The
Tammy and the T-Rex
Archenemy
Zappa
Mindwarp
State Secret
Mogul Mowgli
Owners, The
Twentieth Century, The
Story of Gilbert and Sullivan, The
What Lies Below
Greenland
Broil
Dead Pigs
Willy's Wonderland
It's in the Air
School's Out Forever
Breeder
Stump the Guesser
Sator
Last Warning, The
PVT CHAT
Ascent, The
Clementine
Hurt by Paradise
Saint Maud
Johnny Frenchman
Glitch in the Matrix, A
Beginning
Meeting the Man: James Baldwin in Paris
   
 
Newest Articles
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
   
 
  Calvary They Know Not What They Do
Year: 2014
Director: John Michael McDonagh
Stars: Brendan Gleeson, Chris O'Dowd, Kelly Reilly, Aiden Gillen, Dylan Moran, Isaach De Bankolé, M. Emmet Walsh, Marie-Josée Croze, Domhnall Gleeson, David Wilmot, Pat Shortt, Gary Lydon, Killian Scott, Orla O'Rourke, Owen Sharpe, David McSavage
Genre: Comedy, DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: It is Sunday morning and Father James (Brendan Gleeson) is taking confession, but the last member of the congregation to enter the booth has some surprising things to say. This man tells the priest he was sexually abused by one of the Catholic Church for some years as a child, week in, week out, and the corrosive effect of the ordeal has left him wishing to lash out. But he cannot kill the priest who regularly assaulted him for he died a long time before, and when Father James asks him if he has ever considered professional help to cope the advice is thrown back as the man does not wish to cope, he wants to nurse his anger until he attacks. To do that, he will not kill a paedophile priest, he will kill an innocent. He will kill Father James.

Writer and director John Michael McDonagh and actor Brendan Gleeson reteamed after the international success of The Guard for another comedy drama, though in spite of the threat of violent death hanging over the protagonist they played down any thriller aspect in favour of long ruminations on the place of forgiveness in society. Specifically, whether the religious body who promoted forgiveness should be forgiven itself for the grave misdemeanours its representatives had committed: the topic of child-molesting priests was an extremely emotive one and had by the point this was released shaken the Catholic Church to its foundations, yet in a way that suggested nothing had been taken on board many felt justice had not been served.

Which led us to the premise of Calvary, as the title indicated placing a pious man in the position of scapegoat for the sins of mankind, or at least the part of mankind who preached the Biblical tenets while breaking them in horribly hypocritical fashion. Father James was that man, and in a difficult role Gleeson once more demonstrated is skill with holding together a film that without him at its centre would have been something of a shambles. You could see what McDonagh was getting at in his musings over theology and morality, not to mention sacrifice for the greater good, except the impending sacrifice wouldn't be for anyone's good, with Father James potentially not dying for anyone's sins, more with his life on the line as an act of outright vengeance for what he did not do.

It's as if society, with the villagers standing in for them, demanded some retribution that it felt it was not winning and in lieu of punishing the guilty, punishing the innocent was the next best thing. In that way the other actors were wheeled on to do their party pieces in a very stop-start manner, summing up various elements of the community to confront the good priest with the evil in the world that they are all too familiar with yet his advice will do nothing to allieviate the soul-destroying effects of. Therefore time and again, almost as if McDonagh had secured the services of a cast of fairly well-kent faces for a short period each, and mixed them all up to craft an ensemble, Father James finds he cannot help in the way that priests were supposed to, and realises he is a liability.

Chris O'Dowd is a butcher who may be beating his wife, doctor Aiden Gillen is a bone-deep cynic who grins his way through his atheism, Dylan Moran is a multimillionaire who keeps inviting the priest over to talk rubbish at him, Isaach De Bankolé is an African mechanic taking his pick of the women in the area, M. Emmet Walsh is an American writer who wants to finish his last book then die, and so on, every one of them damaged people who by all rights Father James should be able to help, but the script has it the only way he can do that is to die for their sins. This builds on the issues of forgiveness that continually emerge, with most pertinently Kelly Reilly as his daughter who is getting over a suicide attempt and has to reconcile her relationship with him, yet even this supposedly would best come about by his death. It's a bleak effort, and very much of its era with its central character a good, kind, decent man predictably buckling under the rotten state of modern existence just as society is demanding, but it would have been more provocative if he had not broken at all. Music by Patrick Cassidy.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2016 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
   

 

Last Updated: