2013, 100 minutes, color, Ireland/United Kingdom

Father James is a good priest, driven by spiritual integrity. One day in confession, an unseen man tells James that he’s going to kill him precisely because he’s done nothing wrong. Given a week to make his peace with God, James ministers to sundry lost souls—visits that double as a guided tour of suspects. His preparation for death is further complicated by the arrival of his daughter, who has recently attempted suicide.

A departure from The Guard, John Michael McDonagh’s brilliantly layered, darkly comedic drama about a good priest tormented by a cynical, spiteful community offers a more philosophical reflection on faith, rooted in the biblical story of Calvary’s two thieves—one redeemed, one damned.

A crucible of Catholicism’s contemporary woes (from sexual abuse to waning influence), Calvary’s mystery is one of faith. A fascinating character brilliantly inhabited by Brendan Gleeson, James struggles to reconcile himself to God’s will with forgiveness. Seemingly beyond redemption, the town reflects a soulless society of depleted faith and moral equivocation. As dark forces close in, it would be so easy for James, carrying the weight of the world, simply to drop the load.

Director: John Michael McDonagh

Screenwriter: John Michael McDonagh

Producers: Chris Clark, Flora Fernandez Marengo, James Flynn

Cinematographer: Larry Smith

Editor: Chris Gill

Production Designer: Mark Geraghty

Composer: Patrick Cassidy

Executive Producers: Robert Walak, Ronan Flynn

Principal Cast: Brendan Gleeson, Chris O'Dowd, Kelly Reilly, Aidan Gillen, Dylan Moran, Marie-Josée Croze

About the Director

As a troubled youth, John Michael McDonagh was once incarcerated for accidentally killing a swan. His time inside was a happy one, however, as he brutally subjected the other boys to a tyrannical reign of terror. Upon his release, he worked in a pie shop, his weight ballooning to more than eighteen stone, or the equivalent of five baboons. He shot his first feature, The Guard, in 2011, and it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.


1/19/2014 6:45 pm
Eccles Theatre, Park City
1/20/2014 8:30 am
Library Center Theatre, Park City
1/23/2014 3:00 pm
Sundance Resort Screening Room, Sundance Resort
1/24/2014 6:30 pm
Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, SLC
1/25/2014 6:30 pm
Peery's Egyptian Theater, Ogden