I recently saw this movie about a priest in Ireland who is threatened with death by a townsman in the confessional. Very flawed movie, but a terrific performance by Brendan Gleeson who plays the priest ministering to the most bizarre cast of characters I've ever seen. It takes place in present-day Sligo after the church scandals and the economic downturn of the new century have taken its toll. Father James is given a week by his would-been murderer to "put his affairs in order"  and the film follows his week as he moves towards his Calvary carrying his cross for the sins of others.

Still trying to work this movie out in my head, and it will cause you to think.

Tags: Faith, Film, Movies, Reviews, Sligo

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We watched this for the first time earlier this week.  Great scenery, cinematography, and Brendan Gleeson was tremendous (as always).  Like you say though, Jim ... it's a bit of a head-scratcher.  I guess there is some fairly deep symbolism involved in the plot line, and this may be one where there are several legitimate interpretations at which one could arrive.

Ambiguity throughout the movie, Ryan.  Started with the quote from St. Augustine along the lines of "Do not despair, Jesus saved one of the thieves on the cross.. Do not rejoice, Jesus condemned the other thief." Almost everyone in the movie seems so empty. The only ones with substance are Father James and, at the end, his daughter. Maybe the old writer and the kid on the beach as well.

Note on scenery. Ryan, didn't it seem that Ben Bulben was too close to the beach? There's another thing - were we supposed to think of Yeats' epitaph on his Ben Bulben grave marker??  - "Cast a cold eye on life, on death. Horseman, pass by." Aargh!! Frustrating.

Ryan, was there much of a reaction to the movie in Ireland? A library in the area is having a discussion of the DVD version in a couple of weeks, and I plan to attend.

I am a huge Brendan Gleeson fan, but I haven't had a chance to see this movie yet. I read about it some time ago on Rogerebert.com. I'll keep my eyes open for it. thanks for the review/reminder.

Yes, Jim ... the comments I've heard here in Ireland have been mixed.  Some really liked it, some really hated it.  Seems like more liked it than not, though.

Regarding Ben Bulben being too close to the beach ... it seemed right to me.  I've spent some time right in the areas where they filmed along the beach, and Ben Bulben does loom large even from there.

I love it when film makers struggle with themes as heavy as redemption and faith, even if I don't draw all the same conclusions as the film maker.  Also, I'll watch ANYTHING with Brendan Gleeson.  If you haven't seen The Grand Seduction, you must!  Much lighter fare, but I enjoyed it very much.


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