January is over, and so far I’ve been back to my usual movie watching. Reunited with my first love, and it feels so good.
One of the very best films I’ve seen so far this year is John Michael McDonagh’s Calvary.
The film opens with Father James, a small town priest, hearing confessions. An anonymous parishioner promises to kill him the following Sunday, because the man was raped by a different priest as a child. The film then follows Father James attempting to come to terms with his life and vocation, while deciding if he will leave town, defend himself, or accept his fate.
Calvary works with the efficiency of an assassin. There isn’t a wasted frame in the film. Especially in terms of the film’s dark humor. Brendan Gleeson is one of the most under-appreciated actors alive. He’s even better in Calvary than he was in McDonagh’s previous outing, The Guard.
The depth and subtlety of both the writing and the performances are captivating, and the acid humor, anger, and tenderness are all so impeccably delivered. These performances are enhanced by how visually beautiful the film is. The cinematography is really photographic. The camera doesn’t move. Wonderfully framed shots are set up and that is where the shot is held, frame after perfect frame. The fact that the camera isn’t moving leaves the viewer alone with the gravity of the moment.
You should watch this one.