Extra Cinema: Calvary (15)

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Starring: Brendan Gleeson, Kelly Reilly

Director: John Michael McDonagh

Father James Lavelle (Brendan Gleeson) tends to his flock in a close-knit Sligo community riddled with dark secrets.

Sitting quietly in the confession booth, the holy man is stunned when an anonymous male parishioner confides, as a child, he was repeatedly raped by a priest.

Father James listens intently as the man calmly reveals that his abuser was never punished and he intends to exact revenge by spilling more blood — Father Lavelle’s.

Thus, Father James is instructed to put his affairs in order before his date with destiny on the local beach.

With the clock ticking, the holy man searches for glimmers of hope in the eyes of his wayward flock including the scheming laird (Dylan Moran), the butcher (Chris O’Dowd) whose adulterous wife (Orla O’Rourke) is engaged in a violent tryst with a garage mechanic (Isaach De Bankole) and his own daughter (Kelly Reilly).

Everyone has something to hide, it seems, and McDonagh’s richly-detailed script suggests that any of the men in town, including the doctor (Aiden Gillen) and an ailing American writer (M Emmet Walsh), might be Father James’s intended killer.

Sunday draws closer, forcing Father James to consider all of the wrongs he has committed and their potential repercussions.

The humour is dark (perhaps inevitably) but it is an integral part of an accomplished piece of drama.

Rating: 8/10