Movie Review: Calvary

Calvary is probably one of those movies that critics - the type that like to dissect movies - will love; it has many underlying themes, most of which are made apparent near the end of the film. Brendan Gleeson does give a great performance in it, but the movie is extremely slow and very depressing.

The movie starts off with Father James (Gleeson) at confession, and one of his parishioners says that because he was raped by a member of the church when he was young, he's going to take his anger out on James, and will kill him next Sunday, on the beach. James is, understandably, disturbed by this, and he does bring it up with the chief Father, who asks him if he knew who the parishioner was; he does, but doesn't want to say. He then goes about his week, and we see how he interacts with his other parishioners. His daughter, Fiona (Kelly Reilly), who has recently attempted suicide, also comes to visit his rural Irish town, and he sends her away on Friday. To top things off, James is a recovering alcoholic and decides to start drinking again near the end of the week, which greatly influences his temper and how he acts in public.

This film is almost Hitchcock-esque, because we wait throughout the whole movie to find out who the parishioner was at the beginning, and it has some dark humor thrown in here and there too. I didn't guess who the parishioner was, though I probably should have, because (semi-spoiler) he's one of the only other A-listers in the movie whom you may have heard of. Kelly Reilly also does a good job as Gleeson's daughter, and Domhnall Gleeson (Brendan's son) is also in the film, although I didn't recognize him in it at first.

Maybe see this movie. If you can stand a slow movie with religious themes (hence the movie name origin), you may like this film. I thought the performances were great, like I mentioned earlier, but overall it was very depressing and dark, which is not really my type of movie, usually. At the time of this writing, it has 89% on Rotten Tomatoes, and I'm guessing that number will probably go up once it spreads beyond just indie theaters; in the Detroit area, it opens today (August 15th) at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor, and will expand to the Maple Theater (Bloomfield Hills) on August 22nd.

Calvary is in theaters today, August 15th, and is rated R with a runtime of 100 minutes. 2.5 stars out of 5.


  1. Thanks for the review. I really don't like slow and depressing, so I think I will pass. :)

  2. This movie sounds very dark and disturbing and I don't know that I would want to watch it. The Giver sounds like it was a much better movie so I would vote for that one!!

  3. You know, I've been sort of psyched for this. I adore Brendan Gleeson and think he should have more films built around him. I'm not put off by a slow building film. I probably shouldn't have read your spoiler though it goes to a theory that I have that certainly always pertains to BBC murder shows, which is that the biggest star is always the killer.

    1. Ah, yep - sorry about that. If you see it, let me know your thoughts!


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