I am listening to the soundtrack for Calvary as I write this. There are few movies for which I enjoy the soundtrack as much as this one. It is haunting, moving, and beautiful.
The movie, for me, was a mixed bag. It stars Brendan Gleeson as a Catholic priest who maintains a parish on a costal town in Ireland. Gleeson's performance was magnificent.
Calvary sets up the tension early. The opening scene is in a confessional. The confessor informs the priest that it his intention to kill him at the end of the week. The confessor explains the sexual abuse that was done to him by a priest as a child. He has no desire to kill a bad priest. He wants to end the life of a good and innocent priest so he may take from the church as the church took from him. He gives the priest the week to put his affairs in order.
Gleeson's priest, rather than protecting himself or going to the police, goes on about his priestly duties. We spend the week with him as he interacts with his parishioners and walks with his visiting, suicidal, daughter. We learn that the priest entered the order as an older man, following the death of his wife.
All of this takes place in beautiful settings. The film work is wonderful. The dialogue is engaging. The music is exceptional.
But Calvary has a substantial weak spot.
The townspeople and his parishioners. They were all just... well, awful. By that I mean that none of the characters had likeable qualities. They were all broken people... but they were broken without any depth. There was nothing there with which to empathize. For all of the fullness of Gleeson's priest, those he dealt with were caricatures.
This is a painful movie. I was not satisfied, but it made me think... and I am still pondering.
Go see it... but once will probably be enough.