Calvary  (2014)    72/100

Rating :   72/100                                                                     100 Min        15

Another film featuring Brendan Gleeson and a healthy dose of Irish black humour (see ‘In Bruges’ 08 and ‘The Guard’ 11 for good examples of more) and once again featuring topical satire at the expense of the Catholic church, here courtesy of Gleeson’s central character, father James Lavelle, who is told during the film’s introduction he will be killed in a week’s time by a victim of child abuse at the hands of a different Catholic priest in years gone by. The setting is a small Irish town in County Sligo (Easkey was the main filming location) so Lavelle knows who his would be assassin is, but we the viewers do not. This mixture of dark comedy, serious issues and not quite whodunit but who is going to do it, creates a unique film with another predictably great leading performance from Gleeson, but also very solid support from the likes of Dylan Moran, Chris O’Dowd, Kelly Reilly Isaach De Bankolé and David Wilmot. The title is taken from the name of the site just outside of Jerusalem where the Bible tells us Jesus was crucified, and it’s written and directed by John Michael McDonagh who’s last project was the aforementioned ‘The Guard’ – here he has maintained the same level of humour as before, but injected it with a memorably dark and astute portmanteau of the often scandalous situation the Catholic church finds itself in worldwide, combined with ever relevant questions, and tests, of faith.

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