Today I went to see Calvary. It was just released this week in the US, only to select cinemas. Which unfortunately meant that I had to drive up to a different city than I live in, to go see it. I was actually sure by the time I parked the car that I’d regret it. Going to all that effort to see a film, when I’m really not that big into going to the movies in the first place could only spell regret! Well, I was wrong!! Very wrong.
The very opening scene made me say “Oh No” in my head. The first words uttered by Gleesons character (the priest in the picture) sounded exactly like what his character in the Guard would say. I reviewed that movie here too….I just didn’t like it all that much, I couldn’t buy into Gleeson being the coolest guy in the room all the time. It wasn’t his fault really. You can tell by the way these lads write their movies that they go after that whole cool vibe. Kind of like the dialog in Tarantino movies only nowhere near as cool…the dialog and the long winded philosophical shite started to wear on me after the first 40 minutes, if I’m honest. But it all paid off in the end.
Having said that. I’d really have preferred if the movie stayed a little more true to Ireland and a little more true to reality with the characters..but anyways! The central premise of the movie is that some guy who comes in for a confession tells the priest, he’s going to murder him in 7 days. That’s not a spoiler, it’s in the actual trailer. I thought it was very clever that he had 7 days before he would supposedly be killed and there’s also 7 stages of grief…I caught on pretty quickly that this is what he seemed to be going through…unless he wasn’t at all and I’m a big fucking fool! I thought the range of emotions gave the character great depth and also showed Gleeson to be the brilliant actor he is.
Before I went to this movie, I read online that some back in Ireland had a problem with it, they believed it painted the Irish in a bad light. And to be honest it did…it wasn’t very true to the Irish but it really didn’t have to be. Did it? It’s just a movie, after all! There was a Johnny Cochran reference, as well as talk about Navajo Indians and all sorts of horse shite that certainly wouldn’t come up in every day life in Ireland…it was packaged to appeal to a wider audience. At times, badly packaged. There was a scene in which a young man was telling the priest that he may join the army and that kicked off some philosophical rant about war and killing….but the fact is, Ireland is neutral..we don’t get involved in the killing, our army is used for peace keeping missions…it was the creator trying to get his viewpoint across in a pretty lame and transparent way.
Jesus…as I write this I’m making myself dislike it now!! HaHa! But I won’t, I still liked it. The acting for the most part was great Gleeson and the other priest were amazing. I liked the small role played by the token American living in Ireland. Some of the characters were a little too over the top but they served their purpose…and the purpose to me was to reflect that, yes indeed the Catholic churchs hold over Ireland is loosening but at the same time, people are becoming so vehemently opposed to religion and those with beliefs that they are lashing out at anyone with faith which is stupid and borderline dangerous behavior. It’s a sentiment I agree with, even though I’m not religious myself and I think it was weaved well into the narrative. Also the second half of the movie was very, very good. It was a good story.