Father James (Brendan Gleeson) is a ‘good priest’, striving for decency on the margins of the world, on Ireland’s west coast. His parishioners present daily moral tests of his faith and he confronts their rage, grief and cynicism with humane compassion and wit.
During a confession he’s threatened with murder – retribution for a sin he didn’t commit – and he must decide if he’ll face up to the penance.
From writer-director John Michael McDonagh, Calvary is part two of a trilogy whose previous instalment, The Guard, also featured Gleeson.
This small, powerful tale, stunningly shot against the wild and craggy setting of the Atlantic, deftly handles dark themes with gallows humour.
The presence of Irish comics Chris O’Dowd and Dylan Moran are nicely cast, but the film is an ode to Gleeson, whose expressive face governs the screen, embodying all that can be understood in the human condition. (RF)