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)
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.
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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 »
At the end of the film I reflected that this was a far bigger film that I had been expecting. The issues explored in the film really do come together at the end. The credits roll silently and I noticed that the full cinema was very quiet and remained so for a much longer time than usual.
The problems in the Catholic church have had repercussions and this parish in Sligo is losing its faith. This loss of faith is portrayed very vividly, it is expressed more strongly than in reality I think.
The film revolves around the character of Father James Lavelle played powerfully by Brendan Gleeson. As Father James visits his parishioners there is much humour, often quite dark. The script has many choice lines. A man arrives to give a lift to a female parishioner who has been sexually promiscuous and she says "here is my ride".
Father James Lavelle is a likable priest, grappling with applying the church's teachings in the modern world. It is a thankless task and always his objective is undermined by the failures of the church itself. Father James's character is contrasted with that of a younger priest he shares the parish with (David Wilmot). The younger priest is very much part of the institution of the church and his loyal naïvety is humorous and infuriating.
Father James' life is threatened at the beginning, but this film is not a detective story, it is not Father Brown. Father James knows who threatened him but we the audience are not let in on the secret. The logic behind the threat is described ingeniously as events in the film come to a head at the end.
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