Calvary trailers have been appearing in cinemas for months and finally this weekend it was released. Many movie goers (myself included) will have thought that Calvary would have been a tense thriller from the trailer, I was expecting a pro-longed episode of Midsomer Murders almost! However the result was something quite different, basically Calvary is an incredibly dark film which is sprinkled with some humour, often dark, to prevent the film from being solely depressing.
I have to address the themes in this film straight off. Basically Calvary features almost every dark theme under the sun, whether it simply touches on it or has a more focused role to play in the film it is quite possible that you will be able to relate to at least one of them. As a result of this I would warn people before watching this movie as it would be very easy for this film to have a negative effect on someone, this isn’t a flaw in the movie but rather a warning from me! Another point is that there should be more specific warnings that accompany film ratings when they are being released. For example ‘sex references’ tells you nothing of what these will be, if they will be out of humour or not and so on, so I simply would suggest that there needs to be a more detailed presentation of themes so that viewers can make informed decisions whilst choosing what movies they watch.
Anyway on with the review, I actually really enjoyed Calvary. There was a lot about the film that I really did think was great, one of the best things was its setting. A small Irish village with an array of characters, this type of setting lent itself well to the storyline and allowed for an exploration into several different characters to different levels. One scene I particularly enjoyed was near the end where the camera panned through each character showing where they were at, I just liked the idea that there were so many different individual stories going on at the same time as the main story of the film. The cast performed well, creating a very believable community and several interesting characters were born out of this. One other note on the setting was just the shear beauty of the shots, the landscapes were quite stunning and I was surprised how captivating some of the shots were!
Calvary did feature humour, at times it was dark but at others times it was more obvious. There were instances when I was unsure whether or not it was appropriate to laugh however there is one scene in particular that is most definitely the funniest of the entire film. The scene in which Milo (Kilian Scott) is talking to Father Lavelle (Brendan Gleeson) in the church about his issues is this scene, the humor just kept on coming and this probably was the highlight of the movie for me! Milo’s character was the one I found the most interesting but there were any number of other characters which could have been explored more! Chris O’Dowd puts in a blinder of a performance and I was genuinely surprised when it was revealed that it was his character who was behind the threat to the Father. The finale was fantastic and it played out in a good way appropriate for the tone of the movie, “did you cry for them” is probably the most striking line in this sequence and of the whole film actually, one that I can see myself remembering for sometime. Despite the finale playing out well I feel that the rest of the movie could have benefited from a little more of its pace, the trailer presented a thriller so that will have had something to do with my expectations however Calvary was slow at points and a little more pace wouldn’t have hurt.
Overall Calvary is a really interesting film with a lot going on within it! The amount of themes and topics for discussion present in the movie is quite something and if I were to explore them all here I doubt anyone would still be reading, but I like that about the movie. It has so many levels and you can choose which parts you want to explore, but most definitely a story about finding a purpose, forgiveness and dealing with hurt. I’m sure that you will be able to find something within Calvary to reflect on or enjoy, great film.
BIGGEST FLAW – Little more pace needed throughout
BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT – Hilarious scene with Milo and the Father
Rating – 8/10