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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Calvary movie rating: red light

Calvary red light Brendan Gleeson Kelly Reilly

When an innocent Catholic priest receives a death threat over the Church’s failure to address its legacy of sexual abuse, the kooky residents of a small Irish village appear to go search of a black comedy, but get stuck in a dramatic thriller that goes nowhere.
I’m “biast” (pro): loved John Michael McDonagh’s The Guard, love the cast

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

(My Ratings posts are a quick way for me to share my reaction to a film. This post will be updated if/when I ever write a review. Feel free to discuss the movie in depth in the comments section.)


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Calvary (2014)
US/Can release: Aug 01 2014
UK/Ire release: Apr 11 2014

MPAA: rated R for sexual references, language, brief strong violence and some drug use
BBFC: rated 15 (very strong language, strong sex references, bloody violence)

viewed at a public multiplex screening

official site | IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

If you’re tempted to post a comment that resembles anything on the film review comment bingo card, you might want to reconsider.

  • RogerBW

    I think this may be a case where the trailer was a fair representation of the film: it wears the clothes of a black comedy, but it acts like a thriller, and those rarely work well together.

  • josephjoe

    A thriller in search of a climax!? It’s an allegory woven with the darkest Irish humour.

  • in search of a climax!?

    I didn’t say that. The film has a climax. Not a satisfying one, but it does have one.

    It’s an allegory woven with the darkest Irish humour.

    Yes, it is. But it’s not a successful one.

    Why don’t you explain what worked for you?

  • Tom Mc

    This is a review? If I pay extra, may I read a paragraph composed of two or more sentences? I get the red light, but I am looking for some enlivening thoughts. Perhaps you’ve been doing this so long you’ve forgotten what a review is.

  • Bluejay

    Read the explanation right under the “critic’s minifesto” link. You want more words, but apparently you can’t even understand the few words that are already there.

  • No, it’s not a review. I make no pretense that it is.

    I already review more films than many other critics. I cannot review everything. Sorry.

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