Calvary (2014)

Director: John Michael McDonagh

Writer: John Michael McDonagh (Screenplay)

Starring: Brendan Gleeson, Chris O’Dowd, Kelly Reilly, Aidan Gillen, Dylan Moran

 

Plot: After he is threatened during a confession, a good-natured priest must battle the dark forces closing in around him.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong Drama That Misses The Point at Times

 

Story: Calvary starts as mid-mannered priest Father James (Gleeson) gets a warning from one of his worshippers that he will kill him in one week on the beach during confession. Father James daughter Fiona (Reilly) comes to visit as we see how Father James goes about his normal routine with the locals.

As the week goes by we see how Father James deals atheist doctor Drank Harte (Gillen), butcher Jack Brennan (O’Dowd), rich member of the village Michael Fitzgerald (Moran) and many others, but he leads to the end of the week questioning his own existence and whether the man can go through with it.

 

Thoughts on Calvary

 

Characters – Father James is a well-liked priest that receives a threat during confession, but he doesn’t take it too seriously as he continues to show how respected he is around the village even with the people with no faith. Fiona Lavelle is Father James’ daughter from his time when he was married, she is having her own problems but know the two are all they have after her mother’s death. Jack is the local butcher that has gone through a separation with his wife but getting on with his life for the most part, he doesn’t have full faith but does have some faith.

PerformanceBrendan Gleeson is fantastic in this leading role as the priest who gets on with everyone and must face is own place in the world. Kelly Reilly is good in her role but like the rest of the cast they do all play second fiddle to Gleeson. Chris O’Dowd is good too but he does fall into the crowd of the supporting cast.

StoryShowing a week in the life of a priest in a small community is interesting through the story side of everything, we are left to see him learn about himself as he does question parts of his faith while staying strong for the people who need him. This story does keep you engaged throughout the film even if it feels like not much is happening.

ComedyThe comedy is all dark comedy take a darker look at a small village community as they get to question their faith.

SettingsThe small town community helps this movie shine as we are left to see how Father James deals with his potential impending death at the hands of one of the locals.

Scene of the Movie – Dr Frank’s scenes get the most laughs.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The idea could have been strong to the point of everything.

Final ThoughtsThis is a strong dark comedy that does want to address a serious issue but doesn’t cover it in enough time, instead focusing on other parts of the community.

 

Overall: Good drama well worth watching.

Rating

 

 

Mark Strong Weekend – The Guard (2011)

guardDirector: John Michael McDonagh

Writer: John Michael McDonagh (Screenplay)

Starring: Brendan Gleeson, Don Cheadle, Mark Strong, Liam Cunningham

 

Plot: An unorthodox Irish policeman with a confrontational personality is partnered with an up-tight F.B.I. agent to investigate an international drug-smuggling ring.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Darkly Comic Crime Comedy

 

Story: The Guard starts as we meet slacker but smart Irish small town police officer Gerry Boyle (Gleeson) who is happen just to clean up crime scenes than solve the crime when it comes to the petty ones. When his small village has a surprise murder and the number 5 and half written in blood on the wall.

This case brings FBI agent Wendell Everett (Cheadle) from America to track down the drug shipment that went missing and is believed to be in Ireland. This brings us the unlikely pairing of Gerry and Wendell from two different worlds trying to track down drug dealer Francis Sheehy-Skeffington (Cunningham) who is hiding out in the village.

 

Thoughts on The Guard

 

StoryIf you were to bottle down this story it is just an odd couple crime comedy tracking down drug smugglers which is all fine and an enjoyable watch throughout. I have said before I am happy with simple stories and this is just that we get good characters and fun moments and is one that can be enjoyed by all.

Comedy/Crime We get comedy from the odd couple crime story going on which has laughs from start to finish with mostly inappropriate comments from Gerry.

Characters/PerformanceGerry is a great addition to the comedic police officer genre that has many but this one is great fun to watch as you don’t know how inappropriate he will be with his latest comments. The FBI agent Wendell plans the straight honest character who is great at reacting to the comments. The bad guys are all played to be what we expect from the genre with the local drug dealer turned international drug smugglers.

Looking at the performance Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle make for a great partnership for comedy that you feel you could watch again and again, when you look at Cunningham and Strong they both enjoy taking the villainous roles.

SettingsHaving the film set in a small Irish village adds to the comedy between local and outsider from the FBI agent but this is a village not used to crime.

Final ThoughtsThis really is a darkly comic crime film that can be enjoyable by all.

 

Overall: Entertaining Irish crime comedy that will make you laugh at all the right points.

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