Calvary is the latest piece from acclaimed writer/director John Michael McDonagh. The film follows a good-natured priest (Brendan Gleeson) who, whilst taking confession, receives a death threat. As the day of his supposed execution draws near, Father James must face up to his own mortality whilst fulfilling his pastoral duties and calming the angst of his daughter (Kelly Reilly).
Mcdonagh, brother of the playwright Martin McDonagh (The Cripple of Innishmaan), is a master of black comedy indie flicks, responsible for Ireland’s most financially successful independent film of all time, The Guard. His razor-sharp writing meets with a stellar cast including comic prodigy Chris O’Dowd (Bridesmaids), HBO favourite Aiden Gillen (The Wire, Game of Thrones) and acting heavyweight Brendan Gleeson. Keeping it in the family, Brendan’s son Domnhall Gleeson (About Time) is also set to make an appearance.
‘There’s too much talk about sins and not enough talk about virtues!’ exclaims Gleeson’s Father James. Such positive sentiment will come as a surprise to those familiar with the reprobate anti-heroes of McDonagh’s earlier work (The Guard, Ned Kelly). The virtuous Father James seems a far cry from the lecherous, coke-snorting and wholly incompetent PC Gerry Boyle of 2011’s The Guard. And this was McDonagh’s intention: ‘There are probably films in development about priests which involve abuse’, he says, ‘My remit is to do the opposite of what other people do, and I wanted to make a film about a good priest.’ And it is this flair for originality, a willingness to go against the grain, which makes McDonagh’s films so gripping for an audience. The volatile nature of his characters match the unpredictable twists of the narratives. His comedy is never frothy but invariably steeped in sinister undertones.
Shot in less than five weeks on location in County Sligo and Dublin, Calvary promises to be a neatly drawn indie flick packed with McDonagh’s trademark comic panache. The vastly adept comic cast are sure to bring added verve to a narrative that McDonagh has assured us will be ‘serious and dramatic’. Calvary is guaranteed to be both entertaining and thought provoking.
|What||Calvary, Cinemas across London|
|Where||Curzon Soho, 99 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, W1D 5DY | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Leicester Square (underground)|
11 Apr 14 – 23 Jul 14, 12:00 AM