|The impressive Kelly Reilly ( as Father James' troubled daughter) and Brendan Gleeson|
With Chris working late tonight, I had to go to Theatre Clwyd this afternoon to see Calvary ,John Michael McDonagh's much celebrated sideswipe at the Catholic Church.
Father James ( Brendan Gleeson ) is the priest of a small Irish provincial town during confession one of his congregation confides in him that he was sexually abused by a priest as a child . During an electric interaction between unseen victim and clergyman the priest is informed that he will be killed in one week, even though he is , in fact a good parish priest with an unblemished record. A murder that will highlight the abuse within the Catholic Church.
Even though Father James understands who his attacker will be, he keeps the fact quiet and carries on dealing with the pastoral needs of townfolk, who all, in one way or another have lost their faith in religion or in life itself.
It's a bit like a whodunit before anyone's actually "due it" .if you catch my meaning?..not that this is the most important crux of the story. The film has much more to say about the absurdities and the contradictions of Catholicism and the integrity of real faith than it ever does about a mere " who will pull the trigger..murder mystery?"
Gleeson is a pure joy to watch. Shopworn and wise , he dominates the screen in every scene he is in and gives Father James' struggle a depth which at times is proudly moving to watch.
(His scene with the grieving and devout wife of a French tourist ( Marie Josee Croze) is especially powerfully observed)
Having said this, I did find it a little unbalanced to have his character the only positive and sympathetic Irish character in the entire movie. All the other Irish characters being rather nasty and wholly unlikable pieces of work.