Calvary – A Terrible Film

I borrowed this film from the local library. I’m glad I only spent a quid to rent it (yay inter-library loans!)

How bad is it? Let me count the ways.

Plot: Stupid. It centers on an anonymous pentitent threatening to assassinate a priest, on an appointed day. Priest goes to his bishop about what to do. Bishop says “it’s up to you”.

Dialogue: The film starts with a disgusting, insane line uttered in the confessional and continues in the same vein; unrealistic, stilted and unimaginative e.g. the local Irish make cynical and insulting remarks to a girl, in her presence, about her obvious signs of having attempted suicide. As ye do.

Costumes: No Irish priest has worn a cassock since the 1960s.

Characterisation: The cast play a strange set of foul-mouthed, cynical, urbane people somewhere beside the west coast of Ireland. The central character of the priest resembles Irish clergy the way Bono resembles a trader on Moore Street.

I think the writers are trying for some kind of Roddy Doyle / Irvine Welsh-style realism. I’m not sure. I’ve only seen Trainspotting and read a paragraph of one of their books, given to me as a Christmas present. They don’t achieve it.

This film ranks up there with “The Quiet Man” as one of the most stupid, cliched and patronising portrayals of Irish people on celluloid. Except “The Quiet man” has John Wayne. The only pleasant thing is the landscape.

If they silenced the actors, edited them out as much as possible, overdubbed Enya and cut it down to 3mins 30 sec, Bord Failte would have a nice promo video.