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Non-Review Review: Calvary

This film was seen as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2014.

Calvary takes itself just a little bit too seriously for its own good. John McDonagh’s second feature film has a sterling cast, a witty sense of humour and some absolutely breathtaking cinematography; but there’s a sense that it’s trying too hard to say something meaningful and profound. Unlike the biting social satire of The Guard, which was buried skilfully beneath a charming screenplay and lightness of touch, Calvary has difficulty figuring out what it wants to be at any given moment in time.

Is it a scathing examination of rural Irish life? An exploration of guilt and integrity, sin and virtue? A meditation on the role that the church has played and has yet to play in Irish life? A critique of “detachment” as a default mode of being? The movie frequently transitions between hilariously exaggerated philosophical exchanges and attempts at more grounded human interactions, often missing a step in between.

Calvary is still a rather clever and powerful piece of Irish cinema, featuring a phenomenal Irish cast and trying to deal with important social issues; it just feels a little to heavy-handed and self-important in its attempts to do so.

Burning down the house...

Burning down the house…

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Top Picks from the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival, 2014

All right, it’s that time of the year again, when your humble host looks at the tea leaves and points to some of the highlights of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival, when the movies take over Dublin city for ten days between the 13th and 23rd of February. The schedule was unveiled today, and although I’ve yet to actually see any of these, I have picked out some of the more interesting and intriguing selections for the festival.

Tickets go on sale at 10am tomorrow morning, so consider this an attempt to point those Irish cinephiles in the right direction.



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