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Written by / 8/31/2014 / No comments / , , , ,

BRENDAN GLEESON IN CALVARY

2014 rating: ***1/2
You can learn about how certain professions are viewed in pop culture by how they’re depicted in movies or TV shows…

Anytime there’s only “one good” something or rather, it usually means that that particular group has more bad elements in order to select only a single protagonist to stand above the rest… A good cop, a good lawyer – hell, there’s even a good serial killer out there… So now we have an honest priest who must pay the price for his colleague's sins… and he has a week to live, possibly…

The first scene catapults the rest of CALVARY, as Brendan Gleeson’s Father James, during an ominous confession, is warned on Monday that on the following Sunday he will be shot dead… This person is unseen and unnamed, making the rest of the film – with title cards marking off each day – a combination of brooding character-study, quirky dark comedy and a mellow slowburn mystery: the lead character and audience has to figure out who, of an eclectic bevy of oddballs within a small Irish town, is the inevitable grim reaper... Although this aspect doesn’t own the story. It’s really about the good priest visiting various troubled souls, ranging from a guiltless businessman to an imprisoned murderer to his very own daughter… Thus CALVARY centers on life and death, and one man existing in-between: It's in this purgatory state that Gleeson, best known for supporting roles, gets to shine in the forefront while still absorbing the people around him. And while some of the residents are more interesting and realistic (and less contrived) than others, our doomed hero's expressions and reactions are always worthwhile.
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