Over the course of two feature films apiece, the brothers McDonagh have had interestingly dovetailing careers. Martin was first out of the gate with modern masterpiece In Bruges, which was followed by John Michael’s debut The Guard, a fine effort albeit one arguably too in love with its own smartarse dialogue and colourful countryside saltiness.
However, Martin’s follow-up Seven Psychopaths, while it has its defenders, alienated others with its overcooked cleverness. And now there’s John’s Calvary; right up there with In Bruges.
It’s a showcase for Gleeson (who must surely be booking seats at every awards ceremony going), but it’s structured around a series of character studies ranging from Chris O’Dowd’s weak butcher and Aidan Gillen’s atheist doctor to Dylan Moran’s depressed banker.
Anchored by a truly sensational performance from Gleeson, this unexpected blend of passion play, detective story, rural comedy and serious inquiry into faith is destined for classic status.