(dir. J M McDonagh) (2014)
This is Craggy Island without the laughs, a richly human ‘who-will-do-it’ as Brendan Gleeson, the village catholic priest, struggles with his faith in the wake of a confessional death threat. Paul Byrnes in the Sydney Morning Herald well described Gleeson’s role as “the one good man in a town of jackals” – the relentless vitriol and mockery spat at him by various village types is matched by their own astonishing, preternatural candour – no feelings are spared in this story.
The whole tone reflects an Irish ambivalence vis-à-vis organized religion, its utility and its scars. Example – Dylan Moran, as the guilt laden, lonely financier, urinates on Holbein’s The Ambassadors (hopefully not the original). Perhaps fittingly, the only one to share the condemned man’s warmth for faith is a visitor from France. Great performance by Gleeson and the cast are all fine.
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