Calvary - 2014
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Set in Sligo, Ireland, Calvary is a blackly comic drama about a good priest tormented by various members of his community.
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Written and directed by John Michael McDonagh. Starring Brendan Gleeson (The GuardHarry Potter), Chris O’Dowd (Moone BoyBridesmaids), Kelly Reilly (Sherlock HolmesFlight), Aidan Gillen (Game of ThronesThe Wire), Dylan Moran (Run Fat Boy RunShaun of the Dead), Marie-Josée Croze (The Diving Bell and The ButterflyMaelstrom) and Isaach De Bankolé (The Diving Bell and The ButterflyMachetero) the film also features a host of other well know Irish actors including Domhnall Gleeson (Anna KareninaShadow Dancer), Pat Shortt and David Wilmot.

Calvary’s Father James is the flipside to The Guard’s Sergeant Gerry Boyle. A good man intent on making the world a better place, he is continually shocked and saddened by the spiteful and confrontational inhabitants of his small country town. After being threatened during confession, he must battle the dark forces closing in around him.

Empire Film’s Kim Newman gave Calvary 5/5, writing: “On the strength of only two films, McDonagh and Gleeson are a director/star team on a par with Ford/Wayne, Fellini/Mastroianni or Scorsese/De Niro. Calvary is gripping, moving, funny and troubling, down to an uncompromising yet uncynical finish.”

In The Hollywood Reporter, David Rooney wrote: “This is a film of rich layers – glorious comedic highs are interwoven with meditative moments and flashes of startling hostility and violence. The underlying solemnity is channeled in Patrick Cassidy’s soulful, quasi-sacred score, and in the majestic drama of the physical settings. Cinematographer Larry Smith mixes up painterly compositions and skewed angles with flair. Visually, intellectually and emotionally, McDonagh’s film is one to savour.”

The Guardian’s Xan Brooks wrote: “John McDonagh follow-up to The Guard is a rich, ripe and altogether delicious whodunnit with a difference, starring Brendan Gleeson as the priest in peril.”

Justin Chang of Variety wrote: “A completely sincere work about the persistence of faith and the Catholic Church’s soul-shattering legacy of abuse, this literate, beautifully crafted picture should translate near-certain critical plaudits into a distinguished arthouse reception worldwide.”

Total Film gave Calvary 5/5, Andrew Lowry writing: “Anchored by a truly sensational performance from Gleeson, this unexpected blend of passion play, detective story, rural comedy and serious inquiry into faith is destined for classic status.”

Little White Lies gave Calvary 5/5, David Jenkins writing: “A knock-out. Works like gangbusters on every level.”

Sight and Sound’s Jonathan Romney wrote: “Faith, doubt, temptation, black comedy and death: Brendan Gleeson towers as a defiant man of the cloth in a cross between a Robert Bresson movie and High Noon. This is not only a provocatively involving thriller but a true rarity in cinema – a genuinely compelling moral and theological investigation.”

Twitch Film’s Todd Brown wrote: “Calvary is a tragic, devastating masterpiece”

Calvary is a Reprisal Films and Octagon Films production, presented by Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board and the BFI, in association with Lipsync Productions.

Calvary is distributed in the UK and Ireland by eOne, in Australia and NZ by Transmission, in Germany by Ascot Elite, in the CIS by CP Digital, in Israel by Shani/Lev Films and in the US and select international territories by Fox Searchlight.

International sales are being handled by Protagonist Pictures.