It's too early still for me to get into the blindfolded business of early awards-season projections, but I will share one hunch that I've had since January: that the redoubtable Brendan Gleeson will sneak a dark-horse Best Actor nod for his sensational performance in John Michael McDonagh's “Calvary.” The very black ecclesiastical comedy, starring Gleeson as a rural Irish priest faced with an anonymous death threat from one of his parishioners, was a major critical hit at the Sundance Film Festival, and got further glowing reviews when it opened in the UK last month.
My admiration was marginally more tempered than some — some of its mannerisms land better than others, while I think there's one critical error in the execution of its mystery. But it's still a fascinating, formidable piece of work, awash with rich language and imagery, and held fast by Gleeson's profoundly moving performance; it's the finest work of a career that isn't short on final work, and I'd love nothing more than to see the long-serving Irish character actor get some recognition for it. He'll have the campaign muscle of Fox Searchlight on his side: the indie distributor snapped it up at Sundance and are releasing it in the US on August 1, where it'll be a refreshingly challenging alternative to the usual late-summer fare.
The first US trailer for the film, which also stars Chris O'Dowd, Domhnall Gleeson and an excellent Kelly Reilly, landed yesterday. Check it out above and tell us what you think — perhaps some of our international readers have already seen the film.