A couple of times every year a movie will come out that completely surprises me–where I find the plot cleverly disguised and 180 degrees from what I was expecting after the first twenty minutes. Similarly, like most others, I detest movie trailers for the simple fact that they’ve become too long and too specific for my taste. Trailers today spoil our movie experience by connecting too many dots in the storyline and test driving all the laugh lines on us viewers– all before we’ve even settled into our theater seats.
The interesting part of the film “Calvary” is that not only did I have no idea what the story was about ahead of time, but that once I started watching it my perception of the movie changed dramatically compared to how I felt about it afterwards.
The “Calvary” is about Father James (played splendidly by Brenden Gleeson), a priest in a small Irish town having to face parishioners who display little, if any, moral fortitude or reverence for the man of the cloth and the Catholic church. The stakes are high for Father James, personally and professionally, as he must continue to stay true to his faith while answering difficult questions about past Catholic priests’ misbehavior. Gleeson’s exceptional performance captivates audiences with his earnestness and likeability in what is easily his best role to date.
The beginning of the movie was extremely slow and nondescript, to the point that I contemplated getting up and leaving the theater by the twenty-minute mark. The film’s middle and ending, however, generated interest with the stark contrasts it draws between a society that openly rejects religion and those servants attempting to preach God’s word. Gleeson convincingly does his best to chart a corrective course for the sinning souls at the remote outpost while nearing his own personal threshold in tolerance for others. It was due to Gleeson’s endearing role of Father James that viewers not only see right from wrong, but more importantly, are left asking how and why our world has become so mean, nasty and void of religion?
This film painstakingly builds its case for society’s mean-streak and how that lost moral compass may be due to the irrelevance placed upon religion. Rather than forgive and understand, we tend to discard and dismiss others and their feelings. Withstanding Gleeson’s moving performance, the “Calvary” is just an average showing on the big screen. Its message, though, resonates and intensifies upon further reflection afterwards. That introspect is the film’s best message and one that makes it worthy seeing.
© 2014, Patrick. All rights reserved.
"Patrick, you are my go-to guy when it comes to the box office". - Judy O.