Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Calvary Review - 3½ Stars

“Calvary” works on two levels — as a deeply religious story of sin and forgiveness and as a semi comic who done it with a shocking ending.  Either way “Calvary” qualifies as one of the year’s great movies.  Brendan Gleeson plays a priest assigned to a small Irish parish.  One day in confession, he hears the anguished story of a man remembering his boyhood abuse by a priest.  The confessor goes on to say that he will pay back the bad priest by killing a good priest.  And with that he tells Gleeson he will murder him in two weeks.  From here we follow Gleeson as he goes on his rounds.  We meet several suspects, including a guilt ridden wealthy banker, a bitter doctor, an unhappy youth, plus the men involved with a deeply unhappy promiscuous wife.  The priest indicates he knows the identity of his future killer.  We settle on one suspect or the other.  The story gets deeper with the appearance of Kelly Reilly, Gleeson’s daughter from his earlier marriage.  Imagine this:  a father who really is a father.  His late wife’s death leads Gleeson to the priesthood.  The ending shocks me still and leads to a deeper twist that made “Calvary” one of my favorites this year.  “Calvary” goes way beyond the ordinary and that’s a rare compliment.  Does it deliver what it promises?  Small movie with a big punch.  Is it entertaining?  Funny and mysterious and shocking.  Is it worth the price of admission? Most certainly.