This occasionally blunt instrument aspires to elevate the craft, and very nearly accomplishes it. There are powerful and poetic moments of the film steered by the formidable Brendan Gleeson which made me feel as if I was seeing the best movie of the year-but these moments were tempered by editorial discrepancies in tone, like the heavy handed musical choices and editorial pacing. The dense and engaging language and the incredible story made for a uniquely refreshing night at the movies, where a real discussion of philosophy is allowed to unfold. I was blown away by the writing and it is certainly the best film this year in terms of the dialogue and content. It sort of felt like an ultra-modern take on Dante’s Inferno (as it spirals into darkness), though the writer/directer John Michael McDonagh attributes the film’s structure to The Five Stages of Grief. This is content trumping form, although much of the film is visually lush and every actor in this knock-out cast gives a compelling performance. Don’t watch this on an airplane. It deserves to be seen on the big screen and discussed. Bring your smart friend and go out for dinner afterwards.
All Movies: 8/10
Calvary is a fantastic and complex word. It means, among other things, “place of the skull,” a sculpted or outdoor representation of the Crucifixion, or a tremendous amount of suffering.