Calvary is a film as unapologetically connected to the gospel setting of Jesus’ crucifixion as its title suggests. Right from the start, the film brings viewers into the messiness of a contemporary gospel story set in a bleak Irish village with painfully real characters.
Father James is a good but unconventional priest reaching out to the members of his congregation. They are an unfaithful, immoral, bitter, and criminal bunch who flaunt their brokenness in their priest’s face. Father James in turn hears their confessions and confronts them with the consequences of their life choices.
One among them confesses deep wounds, and the mysterious confessant tells the priest that Father James will have to pay with his own innocent life in a week’s time. Brendan Gleeson convincingly plays the priest as a character weighed down by this imminent reality and the possibilities of escaping the inevitable.
Billed as serio-comedy, the film has brief yet jarring, intense moments depicting violence, abuse, prostitution, and suicide. It also contains rough and crude language. Because of this, Calvary is reviewed with a cautionary note. And yet I’d recommend it as one of the best films of the year for mature viewers and film groups. Those who choose to see this film will not rest easy in its conclusion. On disc now. (Fox Home Entertainment)