I'm really most impressed with my ability to sit through the entire hour and forty minute runtime of Calvary, cause that flick was naggingly annoying.
The setting was beautiful and Brendan Gleeson's performance was of great quality... but the positives pretty much end there. Essentially, Gleeson plays a priest (Father James) in a small town of sinners. Yet the members of his congregation seem to each be the worst of a specific kind of thing. Almost to the point that I felt like I was watching a walkthrough on how to create basic character archetypes. Anyway, One Sunday in confessional, a member of said congregation states that he is going to kill Father James within a week... Okay. That's weird. So the priest goes about his business... sort of trying to tie up loose ends, because he's decided it's beyond him to go to the authorities with this threat. I don't know... I guess you could call it a murder mystery without the initial murder.
There are a few other performances of note though. Chris O'Dowd gives his best attempt at making sense of an utterly confusing character, but ultimately fails to make much of an impression. Kelly Reilly is rather one-note, but that's all that is asked of her so I'll give her a pass on this one. But then Aidan Gillen shows up and in one fell swoop proves that he cannot play anything outside the box Game of Thrones has already given him. Maybe he's better than this, but his performance was bizarrely cheeky and unconvincing. So he'll get no positive grades here from me.
I don't know John Michael McDonagh's previous work. But having seen this, I'm instantly given a negative impression of his talents... or perhaps he'd better serve as director without writing the scripts himself. But that's just conjecture probably worth ignoring for now. In reference to potential Oscar noms, I do think it'd be pretty cool to see Gleeson get a nod... but that would most likely only yield results if the Academy cheated (as they did with Casey Affleck so many years ago) and dropped him into the Supporting Actor category. That seems pretty unlikely, but stranger things have happened.