Brendan Gleeson is one of those actors who took a really long time to get noticed. He had nice dramatic roles and a sweet Irish accent, but lets face it. His looks probably held him back. But now that he has a distinguished old guy look, his talents are more noticed and he is getting leading roles.

A few years ago, he got The Guard, and now he gets the movie Calvary. Both black comedies / dramas in a way too. I guess it is okay to have a genre niche.

I am surprised the “Movies With Scenes In A Meat Locker” genre hasn’t taken off more fully, either.

Let’s pretend you are Father James Lavelle (Brendan Gleeson). You are an old man, running a small Irish Catholic church in a tiny community. There are only a few other priests in the area, like Father Leary (David Wilmot). That means a lot of soul saving falls on one man.

During mass on a Sunday, in confessional time, a person says that they were abused by a Catholic priest when they were younger and goes into great detail. The priest has since died, but the man is still angry. He wants to get back at the Catholic Church, and to do that, he wants to kill a good priest to send a strong message. He wants to kill Father James Lavelle. In exactly one week he will come back to kill him, in order to get his affairs in order. Then he leaves.

Huh. That is terrifying. There are only a few people in the area, so it can only be a few people. But who?

Here is a vague list of actor names of characters, instead of talking about all of them individually. I even threw in a woman, too. (Chris O’ Dowd, Aidan Gillen, Dylan Moran, Isaach De Bankole, M. Emmet Walsh, Domhnall Gleeson, Marie-Josee Croze).

Oh yeah. Let’s not forget that he also has a daughter, Fiona Lavelle (Kelly Reilly), as part of his marriage before he became a priest.

As the story gets closer and closer to Sunday, more and more sinful activities seem to take place in his town, as if the whole world is going to Hell, and there is nothing the Father can do about it.

In true Irish fashion, his daughter of course is a ginger.

Despite the similar genres, The Guard and Calvary aren’t very similar. This film is much heavier on the drama and symbolism, while The Guard has more comedy, lewd behavior, and shooting of guns.

Gleeson puts on a heck of a show though, and even though I recognize his face in plenty of sinful characters from the past, I feel like it fits the best in a Catholic suit garb. Whatever those robes are called. He fit the character really well, including the few times in the movie where he broke down and did non Priesty things.

The supporting cast was especially up there for me, especially Dowd and Moran. Moran in general was just impressive with his character, and Dowd was impressive being in a more dramatic role which is rare for him. I have only seen Gillen in Game of Thrones, but his character is also pretty great. It is also nice to see Reilly in a controversial role after her last terrible role in Heaven Is For Real.

Overall, this is a really great and powerful movie. It might be pretty easy to get lost in some of the symbolism, or really figuring out where it is all going. I know I didn’t understand the whole thing without some additional research (and some of that research feels bullshit). Definitely a movie you might have to watch more than once to get the full impact of it.

3 out of 4.

Love Sick Love

Love Sick Love is not the first movie with a man duct taped to a chair on the cover that I have decided to watch randomly.

No, that would be Serious Moonlight.

But I ended up liking Serious Moonlight, so why not this one? I bet it just a darker take than Serious Moonlight, since it is advertised as a thriller.

Or maybe I just like it when women duct tape their significant others to chairs in film?

Kids Yo
Oh shit, this one has kids!

Norman (Matthew Settle) has got it going on. He is decently wealthy, one of those guys who buys up foreclosed homes, fixes em up, and sells them back for profit. It is going excellent. He also has been seeing a few ladies on the side, nothing serious yet. Like Dori (Katia Winter). They have had a small sex based relationship for about two months, every once in awhile, nothing serious yet. So he doesn’t mind that she invites him up to a cabin for the weekend. It will be fun and exciting.

Even if she says that she loves him on the first night. Not what he expected, but whatever. The next morning is awkward too, because he hears kids running around. This is not what he expected this weekend to be like, babysitting kids. But they are her kids. A boy and a girl (Dean Kapica, Lindsay Rose Binder), about 7 and 10. That is one way to surprise him, I guess. For some reason they all have Valentine’s day based gifts too, even though it is in July. This bitch is crazy.

Not only that, but how did the kids get here? Of course. Her parents (Charlotte Rae, M. Emmet Walsh) are here too. The fuck?

Nope. Nopenopenope. He is getting out of there. Except for his car steeling wheel seems to have been sawed off. And he has no cell service. WHAT IN THE FUCK NOW HE IS TIED TO THE BED? And they are celebrating Easter?

According to Dori, you don’t know if you are really in love someone until you spend all the holidays with them. So she is going to speed things up and give them a holiday a day. But if he isn’t really ready by New Years, well…

Jim Gaffigan is in this movie. But he isn’t funny. He is just a coworker friend who said don’t go on that trip. That trip is dumb. Good ole Jim.

Easter Sex
Normally Easter on its own its torture enough.

The film certainly escalates. It starts with a girl being potentially too attached. Then kids and grandparents. Then car. Then the next thing you know he is hit over the head and tied to a bed. But it could get worse. He could get tied to a chair. Or shackled to the floor. Or chained up by his neck with a shotgun pointed at his face.

Oh dearie me, all of that is exactl what happens.

It is all sorts of fucked up, but I couldn’t take my eyes away. Despite elements of torture, it wasn’t torture porn, like The Loved Ones or Saw. It had some slight, twisted, comedic elements behind it, and torture came from just not letting him leave and subjecting him to the awkward games of torture.

But the part that makes it more fucked up is that somehow the kids and grandparents are involved as well, the kids probably thinking it is all normal. I love the explanation for why Dori does this to men. In her situation, finding the right man IS hard, and she won’t have her looks forever, so she might have to speed it up to make sure the men will love her for her, and not just if she is pretty.

I am not agreeing with the actions in the movie, just noting they make sense.

And honestly, this film was surprisingly entertaining for its premise, and I’d watch it again.

3 out of 4.