|Calvary proves to be one of the year's best.|
Directed by John Michael McDonagh
Produced by Chris Clark, Flora Fernandez-Marengo and James FlynnWritten by John Michael McDonagh
Starring Brendan Gleeson, Chris O'Dowd, Kelly Reilly, Aiden Gillen, M. Emmet Walsh, Dylan Moran, David Wilmot, Domhnall Gleeson and Maria-Josée Croze
McDonagh and Gleeson join forces again in another dark comedy set in rural Ireland. Gleeson is Father James, a good priest who does his duty and opposes evil. When an unidentified townsperson with a grudge gives him a week to live, the priest must set his affairs in order before confronting the person face to face. The priest's daughter Fiona (Reilly) arrives, having just attempted suicide, and other problems arise with the townspeople, including a seasoned and somewhat depressed writer (Walsh), a butcher (O'Dowd) accused of beating his wife, and a wealthy snob (Moran) who wants to donate to the church. The week turns out to be very eventful, but the clock is ticking, as the priest wonders what will come of the threat.
Like his brother Martin (of In Bruges fame), John Michael McDonagh knows how to write a black comedy, which is bleak enough to bring you to tears and funny enough to make you laugh in absurd or dangerous situations. The Guard was a fine start for McDonagh, but he delivers his best work to date with this beautiful, depressing comedy (of sorts). Gleeson gives a powerful performance, full of warmth, candor and stoicism. He's never been better, and the rest of the performers are terrific as well. Reilly is phenomenal in a very small role as his recovering daughter, and O'Dowd and Walsh, among others, have some wonderful moments in their performances. Patrick Cassidy's melancholy score and Larry Smith's brilliant cinematography are also highlights of this magnificent film. McDonagh and Gleeson have done themselves proud, crafting a slow, striking little film that is one of the best 2014 has to offer.
Oscar Potential: Best Actor, Best Original Screenplay