The 2014 movie Calvary, along with the movie Interstellar, would be the two most recent movies to land on the Matt Lynn Digital listing of the Top 20 Movies ever made.
As a combination drama and dark comedy, this John Michael McDonagh movie is very smart in dialogue, wit, and rather candid criticism of the Roman Catholic church in Ireland and life of a remote town with perverse town of increasingly depraved and morally unprincipled people. That the tale delves into taking revenge on an innocent priest for the long ago sexual indiscretions of another priest composes much of the movie’s central narrative arc.
Brendan Gleeson was perfectly cast as the protagonist priest Father James for this largely two-handed movie. While Gleeson exceeds his role as Ken from In Bruges, Gleeson masterfully draws out McDonagh’s many views into the themes of earning forgiveness and whether what is said to be right is really enough two-characters at a time. Gleeson as the object of the vengeance sought in this movie stands right at the top of this story, is sharp, shepherding, present. His character is always thinking and feeling with an amazingly fast wit; and it’s tinged with so much humor that you have to appreciate it. That the humor feels like it enhances the heavy subject matter of the dramatic elements of this tale is, in my opinion, masterful storytelling as well.
The 89% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes is rather chintzy in my opinion. The subject matter and the acting, frankly, feels like this movie gave you better.
Dan Mecca:”McDonagh’s writing talent is without question and the themes throughout are undeniably intriguing.”
J. Olson: “There’s great beauty in both its scenery and the way McDonagh and his cast cut through us with surgical precision.”
Joe Bendel: “Calvary … exploration of religious conviction is exceptionally mature and thoughtful.”
Liam Lacey: “To say Gleeson “stars” in Calvary seems inadequate. He dominates it …”
Calvary is a movie that I cannot urge strongly enough that you watch. This is a case where the leading role matches the quality of the tale. The lead acting and the writing deserve this praise … and being religious or Catholic are not prerequisites to enjoying this.
Matt – Thursday, January 19, 2017