'Calvary' may have been the product of a hangover, but McDonagh and Gleeson have created something special.
Brendan Gleeson [L] and Kelly Reilly [R] in 'Calvary'
"After we made The Guard, we were talking over drinks about the idea of making a film about a good guy for a change," says Gleeson. "At the time there was a lot of talk about priests accused of paedophilia, but what if this one was innocent?"
Continue reading: 'Calvary' Rises To The Challenge Of Tackling Religion On Film
After the 2011 black comedy The Guard, Brendan Gleeson reteams with writer-director John Michael McDonagh for a darker comical drama grappling with issues of faith and forgiveness. McDonagh's usual jagged dialogue and snappy characters are on-hand in abundance while the film digs deep through a rather meandering, episodic plot.
In rural Ireland, Father James (Brendan Gleeson) is quietly enduring confessionals when one of his parishioners says he's going to kill him next Sunday. Shaken, James begins to explore his faith and mortality over the coming week. His daughter Fiona (Kelly Reilly) arrives following another suicide attempt, and he consoles a grieving French visitor (Marie-Josee Croze) and visits an imprisoned killer (Domhnall Gleeson). But almost anyone in the village could be the aspiring murderer: the over-emotional butcher (Chris O'Dowd), drug-addict doctor (Aidan Gillen), ladies-man African (Isaach De Bankole), shifty millionaire (Dylan Moran), eccentric fisherman (M. Emmet Walsh).
Intriguingly, it never really matters who issued the threat (James has a pretty good idea), because that's not the point of the film. McDonagh is exploring bigger ideas here, adeptly mixing riotously funny dialogue with startlingly bleak emotions. The film's languid pace nearly lulls us to sleep, then wakes us up with another sparky scene-stealing performance from the gifted cast. Gleeson is wonderfully muted, expressing more with an exhausted sigh than most actors can manage with a Shakespearean monologue. His moments with Reilly crackle with honest emotion, and the deceptively simple scene between father and son actors Brendan and Domhnall is a heart-stopper.
Continue reading: Calvary Review
The critics agree: this dark, Irish comedy hits the mark
Michael McDonagh wrote ‘Calvary’ while filming ‘The Guard’ with Brendan Gleeson towards the end of 2009. Almost five years later, the black Irish comedy is hitting cinemas in the U.K, and ahead of that release, the critics are in a doting mood, to the tune of a 90% score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Gleeson, Reilly and dog in Calvary
Gleeson plays Father James Lavelle, a priest trying to do his best in a world of moral deprivation and cultural bankruptcy. “Continually shocked and saddened by the spiteful and confrontational inhabitants of his small country town,” Lavelle’s life is thrown upside down when a member of that fragmented community threatens his life during a confession.
Lizzie Eves and John Michael McDonagh - Guests arrive at the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival opening Gala premiere of 'Calvary' at The Savoy... - Dublin, Ireland - Thursday 13th February 2014
It's dark, it's funny, it's Irish - it's John Michael McDonagh's new film.
The trailer for dark Irish drama Calvary (with black comedy twists) has hit the net, giving us a better look at John Michael McDonagh’s follow up to The Guard. Featuring an immensely talented cast, weaved into a compelling, dangerous plot, it’s got us excited for sure.
The story follows good natured and widely-liked priest James Lavelle (Brendan Gleeson) who receives an odd confession, in which a man says he will kill him, a week on Sunday, once he has his house in order. The rules of the 'Seal of the Confessional' mean he can’t go to the police with his newfound information, and must embark on a quest to discover who has murderous intentions for him – if anyone at all.
Father James Lavelle is a good-natured priest whose life is thrown into confusion and disarray when an anonymous man tells him in confession that he will kill him in a week's time - the only reason being because Lavelle is an innocent man. Of all the shocking things he's ever heard in confession, none have thrown him quite as much as this. Unable to go to the police under the rules of the 'Seal of the Confessional', Lavelle consults his church peers pondering whether it was merely an idle threat, or whether his life really is in danger. In his apparent last week in existence, he scrutinises the corrupt individuals of his sin-filled parish, wondering along the way why people seem to focus more on their vices than their virtues, but when his beloved church is burnt to the ground, his views on good and evil become distorted.
'Calvary' is the darkly comic drama about the timeless story of good and evil, and guilt and innocence. It has been directed and written by BAFTA nominated John Michael McDonagh ('The Guard', 'Ned Kelly') and is set in Ireland's beautiful West Coast countryside. The film is set to be released on April 11th 2014.
Gerry Boyle (Gleeson) is an unpredictable policeman in a small Irish town. When a local murder is linked to an international drug-smuggling case, he's assigned to work with FBI Agent Everett (Cheadle), who like everyone else can't quite figure out if Boyle's a genius or an idiot. As they track down three notorious traffickers (Cunningham, Strong and Wilmot), the case gets increasingly complicated. But Boyle doesn't let it affect his private obsessions with hookers and drugs. More troublesome is his ill mum (Flanagan) and a young Croatian woman (Cas) whose husband is missing.
Continue reading: The Guard Review
The BBC drama starring Aidan Turner returns to BBC One on September 4th.
After the 2011 black comedy The Guard, Brendan Gleeson reteams with writer-director John Michael McDonagh...
Father James Lavelle is a good-natured priest whose life is thrown into confusion and disarray...