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Calvary

August 31, 2014
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This drama (with some dark comic moments) is a tour de force by Brendan Gleeson.  This is my favorite performance by an actor in 2014, just a whisker above Colin Firth’s performance in Railway Man (my favorite picture in 2014 so far).

The film involves one week in  the life of Father Lavelle (Gleeson).  He previously had a wife and daughter but joined the priesthood after his wife died.

On the first day of the week a man comes into the confessional booth and tells Lavelle that he was a victim of horrendous sexual abuse by a priest when he was a child so he plans to take revenge now by killing Lavelle (who had nothing to do with the crime). He even dares  Lavelle to come to the beach on the 7th day to meet his doom.

Lavelle thinks he knows who is threatening him and he is anxious and concerned but he chooses not to go to the police, preferring instead to honor the sanctity of the confessional booth.

Lavelle and his daughter Fiona ( Kelly Reilly) have issues. She was abandoned by her father after her mother’s death. Much of the film is devoted to the complexities of their relationship.

The town is populated by all sorts of interesting but really  messed up people, almost all of whom could be the one threatening to kill Gleeson.

The film is a mystery in terms of which on of these men is the person making the threat but also has much deeper spiritual themes.

The film was written and directed by John Michael McDonagh a very talented Irishman.  I am sure we will see many more terrific movies from him.

Rating- 8.5-Academy Award Caliber Film

Dave

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