I heard a discussion of a new movie, Calvary, on BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Review yesterday; it sounds pretty damn interesting.
The Irish Times has a review.
The predictably flawless Brendan Gleeson plays Father James Lavelle, a decent priest serving the needs of an absurdly colourful Sligo community, whose world is upended by an unexpected encounter in the confessional.
A troubled parishioner – unseen by us, but apparently known to our hero – explains that, having been abused by clerics as a child, he intends to exact revenge by killing James in one week’s time.
There is a terrible logic to his scheme. The annihilation of a guilty priest will provoke only so much rending of garments. The murder of an innocent man will, however, really hammer home how troublesome any association with the discredited Catholic Church has become.
Ok…I want to see that.
On the other hand the review goes on to say that what the rest of the movie does with that setup is a mess, so maybe I don’t want to see it. But the setup…yes, that’s interesting.
The Guardian on the other hand says it’s terrific.
In the darkness of the confession box, Father James (Brendan Gleeson) learns he is about to be killed. Behind the grille, a shadowy parishioner explains that he was abused as a child and is hellbent on revenge. Father James, as a representative of the church, has been selected to take the fall; the good priest parachuted in to deputise for the bad. His crucifixion is booked for the following Sunday, just down on the beach. The priest now has a week to put his own house in order.
Part of why the setup is interesting is because the good priests make the bad ones possible. Good people don’t belong in the Catholic church, because it’s not a good institution.