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Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Nought but Crosses

Despite writer/director John Michael McDonagh's film being centred firmly on the relationship between Brendon Gleeson's troubled priest and his belligerent flock, you needn't worry about being force-fed a pious stream of catholic dogma. McDonagh ably carries off the heavy allegory, despite peopling his film with caricatures,  because they are so wonderfully spiteful, their dialogue so charmingly vitriolic, that it's impossible not to be swept along. McDonagh's second directorial feature after The Guard is just as assured, and there are diverting performances by Chris O'Dowd and a pathologically cynical Aidan Gillen among others, but it is Gleeson's Father Lavelle who remains the centre of the film. His relationship with his daughter (played by Kelly Reilly), his attitude to his congregation and his predicament all present challenges to him, and yet he persists in trying to reconcile these while battling the prejudices of almost everyone around him.  Wherever you stand on the outcome, you'll find it hard not to be affected and there's a good chance you will still be considering this thought provoking film when McDonagh's next effort comes out.

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