Once again we are indebted to Thom for the following post. Everything he writes is worth reading, as not only readers of his numerous comments on this blog can attest, but the millions of his readers of the Sydney Morning Herald who for years have appreciated his limpid prose and pertinent, penetrating perceptions. His anonymity will not be affected by this affirmation of my admiration. For one thing – well, two – his writing is always apropos and, More-over, avoids abusing alliteration. (“Sapienti sat.”) He is a master of tongue-in-cheek, but can be, as he is here, as serious as he is insightful.

“The film ‘Calvary’ opens dramatically in the darkened confessional of a small Catholic Church in Ireland. An unidentified man tells the priest that he will kill him in seven days because he was sexually abused long ago at the age of seven by another priest who is long dead. The film charts the interaction of the priest, brilliantly acted by Brendan Gleeson, over the following days.

One critic described the film as a black comedy. There are moments of levity in the dialogue but otherwise little to laugh about in this coruscating critique of the seaside community’s lived experience of their Catholicism. The film is not necessarily about the sexual abuse mentioned in the opening scenes. It is about an experience of Catholicism in a particular time and place. The film will not therefore be the experience of Catholics everywhere, but the fact that it will resonate with some anywhere is cause enough for concern. All the characters in the film are damaged in some way – the unstated implication is that their unhappiness is rooted in their experience of their religion. The word ‘Calvary’ necessarily denotes suffering – the sacrifice of the Cross. There is suffering aplenty in this brilliant film. A black, black comedy indeed.”