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I can't fathom why this has received such a high rating (currently 90% on the tomatometer, and 80% on the audience score). It is embarrassingly self-congratulating, with a painful attempt at clever word-play. The gay pool player is especially cringe-making, with his appallingly unrealistic and poorly judged acidic comments about the clergy. A blunt piece of work, like something put together by a cynical sixteen year old, wallowing in self admiration at what he feels are his weighty insights. It made me wince that it was Irish. The detestable acts hidden by the church need more intelligent handling than this lightweight effort.
Calvary is a film that punches you in the gut from the first line of dialogue. From that scene on, you and the main character are put on edge, and it’s a journey to see what he will do with such a significant piece of information. The rest of the film is just a series of interactions between this priest and his parishioners. However, because of the weight of what he is told at the beginning, none of these moments feel superfluous. It all has a purpose for him, and I suspect much of it has a deeper symbolic meaning (that I’d love to explore.) Also, for the viewer it all feels a bit like a mystery, as we try to deduce the identity of the man from the first scene. I loved this aspect to the story, and it kept me on the edge of my seat despite the fact that the film takes its time. Under other circumstances I think I’d call a film like this boring, but because they hooked me early, I was happy to go along for the ride. Brendan Gleeson is just marvelous in the lead role because he has a kindly nature, but also can be harsh and brutally honest. We are allowed to see his weaknesses and his strengths and it’s easy to get on his side. The scenes with his daughter (played by Kelly Reilly) were particularly poignant, and their final phone conversation felt like the writer/director spelling out the thesis statement of the entire film within just a few lines of dialogue. The ending of Calvary is a tough one to watch, but not totally unexpected. It left me wanting a little more, so I could know what happened next, but I suppose that’s the sign of a successful film when you’re left wanting instead of getting too much. Calvary is a movie that did a great job of impacting me, but I suspect it won’t be until the second or third time I see it that I will fully understand what John Michael McDonagh was doing with this film. Of course, the fact that I want to watch it again once or twice is a very good sign.
I really love this this film. It's funny, inventive and really dark and goddamn depressing.
I really need to re-watch this.
Though its slow pace and disjointed story threatens to bore, Calvary presents its cynical view of religion with skillful precision.
This film is billed as a dark comedy, something which is reenforced when you see that Chris O'Dowd and Dylan Moran are in it. Well, it's not a comedy, it isn't funny, and it's not watchable. My wife asked me to turn it off halfway through. I was OK with that.
Simple, smart, well acted: put it on your "to watch" list!
A really good view of a village full of interesting lives, none of them good, and they do feel like stereotypes. A great performance by Gleeson makes this very watchable. It's not quite The Guard, but an able replacement.
A rather sombre film that attempts to tackle a subject that is painful to a lot of people by injecting a dose of dark humour into it, and with Gleeson putting in another fantastic performance, practically carrying the entire thing on his own, it almost manages to pull it off. Unfortunately, it spends too much time aimlessly beating around the bush and by the end, you can't help but feel that it didn't have much to say and should have delved deeper considering the topic that is presented.
great acting, but i hated the storyline....trying to be thought provoking, I guess, but plot did not make sense. I kept waiting for sense to kick in, but the characters were not realistic. Felt like a waste of a couple of hours.
Amazing movie, though it also left me feeling a bit sad. I very much identified with Fr. James, because I also know what it feels like to have a firm but weary faith when you're surrounded with constant reminders that your culture views it with complete contempt.