Thursday, February 11, 2016

Calvary (2014)

While perusing some of the reviews on Rotten Tomatoes for this film, I noticed that pretty much all of the negative reviews cited the perceived "cleverness" of this film's dialogue. A few of the positive reviews also cited this as a shortcoming as well. I get that stylization can be distancing and prevent us from embracing a film as the real world, but what about films that aren't going for realism?

Just like the awful evangelical films that surprise everyone by topping the box office over a slow weekend, this film is a deliberate construct. All of the characters are "types". They were created and juxtapozed with each other for a specific narrative purpose. In the case of the evangelical film, the purpose is to reinforce the worldview of people who already believe by showing them exactly what they want to see no matter how unrealistic it might be. In Calvary, these "types" are employed to provoke.

For the blindly faithful, this film might prompt some serious soul searching. But it might also do the same for a non-believer. Unlike the evangelical film, there are no easy answers to be found here. You won't walk away feeling better about yourself and your decisions in life. This is a film intended to inspire reflection as we head towards the inevitable death that awaits us all. What one takes away from this film depends on the person and how honest they're willing to be with themselves. Amen to that.

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