An­other wicked black com­edy from Mcdon­agh

Bray People - - ENTERTAINMENT -

THE LUCK of the Ir­ish runs out for one un­sus­pect­ing priest in John Michael McDon­agh's wicked black com­edy that con­trives a mur­der mys­tery be­fore the heinous crime has been com­mit­ted.

In a riv­et­ing open­ing se­quence wor­thy of Al­fred Hitch­cock, Fa­ther James Lavelle (Brendan Glee­son) tends to his flock in a close-knit Sligo com­mu­nity rid­dled with dark se­crets.

Sit­ting qui­etly in the con­fes­sion booth, the holy man is stunned when an anony­mous male parish­ioner con­fides, ‘I was raped by a priest when I was seven years old, ev­ery other day for five years.’

Fa­ther James lis­tens in­tently as the man calmly re­veals that his abuser was never pun­ished and he in­tends to ex­act re­venge by spilling more blood.

‘There's no point in killing a bad priest,’ the con­fes­sor continues. ‘I'm go­ing to kill you be­cause you're in­no­cent.’

Thus, Fa­ther James is in­structed to put his af­fairs in or­der be­fore his date with des­tiny on the lo­cal beach.

With the clock tick­ing, the holy man searches for glim­mers of hope in the eyes of his way­ward flock in­clud­ing the schem­ing laird (Dy­lan Mo­ran), the butcher (Chris O'Dowd) whose adul­ter­ous wife (Orla O'Rourke) is en­gaged in a vi­o­lent tryst with a garage me­chanic (Isaach De Bankole) and his own daugh­ter (Kelly Reilly).

Ev­ery­one has some­thing to hide, it seems, and McDon­agh's richly de­tailed script sug­gests that any of the men in town, in­clud­ing the doc­tor (Ai­den Gillen) and an ail­ing Amer­i­can writer (M Em­met Walsh), might be Fa­ther James's in­tended killer.

Sun­day draws closer, forc­ing Fa­ther James to con­sider all of the wrongs he has com­mit­ted and their po­ten­tial reper­cus­sions.

Build­ing on in­cen­di­ary themes in his 2011 di­rec­to­rial de­but The Guard, McDon­agh de­liv­ers an ac­com­plished por­trait of an in­su­lar world mari­nad­ing in de­prav­ity and re­gret. He pop­u­lates the wind-swept lo­ca­tions with a mem­o­rable band of mis­fits and de­gen­er­ates.

Glee­son de­liv­ers a tow­er­ing per­for­mance as a ves­sel of God, who may pay the ul­ti­mate price for an­other man's sins. He rel­ishes the meaty di­a­logue and en­joys some frac­tious ex­changes with the lo­cals at the pub where his prime sus­pects whis­per con­spir­a­to­ri­ally as Dolly Par­ton trills from the juke­box.

The ten­sion cranks up, reach­ing a crescendo as Fa­ther James takes the lonely walk down to the beach to dis­cover his des­tiny as an­gry waves crash onto golden sands.

We silently plead him to stop, to turn around and flee to safety, but McDon­agh has never of­fered his char­ac­ters an easy way out.

Death comes call­ing for us all, and here he makes reser­va­tions.

Kelly Reilly and Brendan

Glee­son in Cal­vary

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