Father James is a small-town priest in Ireland whose Sunday confessionals suddenly include a threat to kill him in a week's time as a matter of principle. Deeply troubled and conflicted about how to respond, Father James tries to go on with his calling through that week. However, that proves impossible as he is confronted with a troubling variety of spiritual challenges from both his estranged daughter and his own parishioners. In those dispiriting struggles, Father James' life begins to fall apart as time runs out towards a confrontation that seems to crystallize his values and what he wants his life to be.Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (firstname.lastname@example.org)
When it came to shooting, John Michael McDonagh almost by accident noticed how the mountain in the background gave 'this looming presence, this sinister aspect' and made a decision to include it in every shot thereafter. See more »
Father James Lavelle:
I've always felt there's something inherently psychopathic about joining the army in peacetime. As far as I'm concerned, people join the army to find out what its like to kill someone. I hardly think that's an inclination that should be encouraged in modern society, do you? Jesus Christ didn't think so, either. And the commandment "Thou shalt not kill" does not have an asterisk beside it, referring you to the bottom of the page where you find a list of instances where it's okay to kill people.
[...] See more »
The closing credits are inter-cut with empty shots of every main location that Father James Lavelle and his daughter Fiona had a significant conversation in. See more »
Hong Kong Blues
Written and Performed by Hoagy Carmichael
Published by Songs of Peer Ltd.
Courtesy of Pavilion Records Limited See more »
An Irish High Noon
Greetings again from the darkness. Writer/director John Michael McDonagh and actor Brendon Gleeson re-team (The Guard, 2011) in what can be viewed as one giant leap for both filmmaker and actor. Mr. McDonagh is immensely talented and seems to be a natural at keeping his viewers unsure of what's coming.
Set and filmed in a western Irish coastal town, the film has a most unusual first scene, including an acknowledgment of such as the priest (Gleeson) says "Certainly a startling opening line". This occurs in the confessional with an extreme close-up as the unseen (by us) parishioner then says "I'm going to kill you Father". With Sunday week as the promised deadline, the movie follows the Priest with a placard for each day, as he makes his way through the maze of local town characters. He also receives a visit from his daughter (Kelly Reilly), fresh off a suicide attempt (he was married prior to joining the priesthood).
The film bounces from very dark humor to extreme philosophical and theological discussions between the town folks and the priest. We quickly learn what a good man he is, and struggle to understand why the locals flash such vitriol his way. The Catholic Church, and all that implies these days, certainly plays a key role, but more than that, this is about the make-up and character of people.
This is not the place to go into detail about the story, as the film is best unwrapped and interpreted by each viewer. What can be said is that this is exceptional filmmaking: it's well directed, beautifully photographed, superbly acted, has a terrific script, and encourages much discussion.
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