Calvary

Calvary takes a significant proportion of the cast of The Guard, adds in some new faces, throws them into a small village and puts Gleeson into the role of Father James, a man who stoically attempts to help those around him even as they become increasingly hostile. There is also a death threat, a week to live, and a host of supporting characters. Needless to say there is an awful lot going on in Calvary. High concept it is not. It deals with a whole host of issues, the taking apart of which would run into endless A level film studies lessons, and actually not get you anywhere. Calvary doesn’t answer any questions, but then it doesn’t promise to either. Given the tricky nature of some of the things going on in the film there are a good few laughs to be had, though there is something of a tendency for absurdity to perhaps overshadow the story. Equally it feels at points that the role of Father James is simply a vehicle to take us into the lives of a set of people, where we are presented with little vignettes of their lives solely for the purpose of extending some sort of commentary, rather than to push the story forward. It avoids being preachy though, literally, given the main characters profession. Even there though the film asks you to question it, never is it actually stated, but there is a definite sense that Father James is not as devoted to his God as he is the people around him. Like his character in The Guard he is something of a mystery, but again, that he cares is the most evident thing about him. There is a lot on offer here, what it is all about certainly will depend on the viewer. It is refreshing though to see a film which doesn’t put everything on the plate at once, but gives you just enough to get you thinking.

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