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Calvary poster

CAST
BRENDAN GLEESON
ISAAC DE BANKOLE
MAREE-JOZEE CROZE
AIDEN GILLEN
DOMHNALL GLEESON
GARY LYDON
DYLAN MORAN
CHRIS O’DOWD
ORLA O’ROURKE
KELLY REILLY
KILLIAN SCOTT
OWEN SHARPE
PAT SHORTT
M. EMMET WALSH
DAVID WILMOT

WRITTEN BY
JOHN MICHAEL McDONAGH

PRODUCED BY
CHRIS CLARK
FLORA FERNANDEZ-MARENGO
JAMES FLYNN

DIRECTED BY
JOHN MICHAEL McDONAGH

GENRE
COMEDY
DRAMA
MYSTERY

RATED
AUS:NA
UK:15
USA:R

RUNNING TIME
100 MIN

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IMAGES
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CALVARY (2014)

Led by an outstanding Brendan Gleeson, Calvary is a witty, thoughtful and relevant examination into the far reaching effects of the Catholic sex abuse crisis.

The sex abuse crisis within the Catholic Church has been the basis of movies both fictional and non. But never before has a film looked at the ramification of this crisis to those outside of the fall-out zone.

Calvary, the second film by writer/director John Michael McDonagh, is interesting in that it deals with those emotionally detached from the abhorrent suffering, yet are never the less sucked into its awful abyss. Many Catholics – both layman and cleric – have not encountered the horrors that an unfortunate number have, yet are never the less linked to it by association. The results are emotions of anger and confusion: How can the very same Church that teaches charity, goodwill and sanctity of life, be festered with such monsters within its ranks?

It is a position which Father James Lavelle (Brendan Gleeson) has found himself in. A good Catholic priest (as many are) of a small rural Ireland community, he is placed in a predicament of potentially fatal consequence when a threat on his life is delivered during confession. The killer-to-be is himself a victim of clerical abuse, and decides the best revenge is to kill a good priest (on a Sunday no less).

With one week to find who made the threat, Father Lavelle has to also contend with an increasingly hostile community, with each member more missed up than then next and harbouring strong anti-Catholic sentiment; such are the results of a never ending stream of allegations that in particular has rocked once proud Roman Catholic Ireland to its core, McDonagh successfully establishing that anger and bitterness that is in itself a force that good Father Lavelle must combat.

A writer of wit and heart, McDonagh dives deep into murky waters in his decision to set this darkly comedic story of persecution and forgiveness in the throes of such horrific scandal, yet so he does with a biting, dark humour that amazingly sits comfortably beside such heavy subject matter.

McDonagh’s decision to cast his The Guard leading man Brendan Gleeson is a wise one, with Gleeson delivering an outstanding performance as a priest of forthright Catholic principle and a world weary conviction. Gleeson brings qualities of wit, heart and integrity to this role of a priest burdened with the sins of others who share the same uniform, yet do not fill it with the same goodness and faith.

For those who don’t know, the word “Calvary” is Latin for the site where Jesus was crucified. Only fitting that McDonagh uses it as a title for a film not only of deep religious conviction, but that also looks at the nature of sacrifice as atonement for the sins of others.

A film of high importance and masterful craft, Calvary is an outstanding and moving achievement that should be seen by all.

****
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