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PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2015 12:14 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2015 5:43 pm
I think that this film deserves its' own thread. Don't let the religious plotline scare you away from seeing this excellent Irish movie. I've watched it for a second time recently. It's a film for the ages.


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 Post subject: Calvary
PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2015 3:48 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 3:26 am
Location: East of Shanghai
Well you tried to lead the charge, but it seems the powers that be disagreed with you.

Calvary is a very good film. The cinematography is impressive. Brendan Gleason holds the film together as his world and sinful village fall apart. The dialogue is often very good, the landscapes impressive. I really liked this, though the level of vice and the disrespect for the priest/church was a bit extreme, while the eccentric characters and the corrupt seediness of the second half veered into David Lynch territory. And if you're concerned about liberals not interested in a film about a priest, just mention that clergy pedophilia is a significant element, that and the Lynchian vibe ....


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 Post subject: Re: The Films of 2014
PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2015 4:54 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2013 6:24 pm
Location: Albuquerque, NM
I came to this thread to post on another film I had caught up with this past weekend, and noticed the aborted Calvary thread supported by copen and Lemmy...

Allow me to add that I'm similarly shocked that this film hasn't engendered more discussion or support from the forum; even in the Dynamic Consensus Lists, it's only an unranked Honorable Mention below the likes of Foxcatcher and The Lego Movie*, which I think has to speak to a need for more members to see it. I say this not only because I think Calvary is excellent - I ranked it my second-favorite film of a very good year - but because I can also envision it being fairly divisive and the stimulant for some interesting debate and discussion.

In addition to being visually stunning and filled with excellent performances (not least a career-best turn from Brendan Gleeson), John Michael McDonagh's second feature is built around one hell of a script. Packed with incident, character, and the best of the sharp and dryly funny dialogue the McDonagh brothers are known for, it also meaningfully engages with themes of faith, guilt, and the meaning of goodness without crowding out the plot or characters. I'm not sure I agree with Lemmy that the film takes a Lynchian turn at any point, but I do think there is a rich vein of irony, absurdity, and dark humor running through the proceedings that not only contrasts with the heaviness of some of the material but makes the film a far more enjoyable watch than might be expected from a passing glance at the poster (to be clear, it's no Lego Movie, but...).

It took me as long as it did to see it (well over a year since its US release date) only because the plot synopsis I heard when it was playing the festival circuit - a weary priest struggling with his faith and his community's foundering relationship with the church in small-town Ireland - sounded dreary and rather unengaging to an American atheist with limited time and mental energy to devote to miserabilism. Rest assured, if you haven't seen this yet, it really is worth seeking out, though since the only commentary on the board so far has been enthusiastic support, it'd be really interesting to hear from someone who wasn't as impressed.

*Not to pick on either film, as I liked them both to varying degrees


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2015 8:25 pm 
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Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2009 2:59 am
I thought it excellent too. A tough minded film, indulging neither optimism nor nihilism, and potentially discomfiting to non-believers and believers alike. But it is ultimately religious: the Bible doesn't teach that goodness will be rewarded in this life.

I didn't like the brief coda -- the film could have finished at the beach. The coda of itself wasn't objectionable, just the emotive score that was played over it. (You know, just in case you didn't have an emotional response to all the sorrowful events that have befallen thus far, here's some music to help you out). And the prison visit to the unrepentant killer was maybe over-egging the pudding.

But I'm afraid my comments make it sound like a dreary film, which it isn't at all.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2015 6:55 am 
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Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2009 1:01 pm
Location: Cheshire, United Kingdom
It's been a long while since I saw it. I liked it quite a lot, but as a thriller it never gripped me massively. It seems most people have taken it far more seriously as a drama than I did.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2015 7:22 am 
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Joined: Tue May 29, 2007 10:06 pm
I liked it too. It's a beautifully acted film (I'm always a sucker for Brendan Gleeson, but the rest of the cast is great as well), and it deals thoughtfully and provocatively with complex ideas. Commendably, it also refuses to offer any neat or comfortable solutions to these issues. I might be alone on this point, but it struck me as a sort of cross between The Diary of a Country Priest and D.O.A.. I liked the central conceit that the protagonist kind of knows who the 'killer' is but we don't (if I remember rightly?); it's a clever way of meditating on the nature of the priest's job, his obligation to be both connected to and detached from his flock, the function of confession, the vital but also problematic role of privacy and secrecy in these relationships, and so on, while also heightening the suspense for the viewer. The episodic structure of the narrative tended to dissipate the tension somewhat, though, and the film felt a bit draggy and directionless at times. I was left wondering whether it might amount to less than the sum of its parts. But it's definitely the kind of film you want to see more than once, so I'll try and re-visit it some time.

Aidan Gillen's story about the toddler was horrifying - the way he told it more than anything else. He's terrific in this.


Last edited by Sloper on Thu Jan 07, 2016 1:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2016 11:43 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Indiana
I really liked it. It was different than what I was expecting but no less good because of it. Gleeson is great of course, but it's a rather solid ensemble. I've only seen Dylan Moran in Shaun of the Dead and several episodes of Black Books but was impressed at how straight he played that kind of character. It's only when he defiles the painting when it goes too far but it kind of seals the point about his morality.


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