“And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left” Luke 23:33
John Michael McDonagh’s Calvary begins with the line:
Do not despair; one of the thieves was saved.
Do not presume; one of the thieves was damned
The quotation is not from the Bible, but elegant lines from Samuel Beckett’s play Waiting for Godot. Vladimir’s remark kicks off a wonderful and absurd “Who’s On First?” exchange between its two hobo protagonists on the meaning of salvation. The same mix of gallows humor and metaphysical dead ends can be found throughout McDonagh’s new film, which features Brendan Gleeson as Father James Lavelle, a priest in a small Irish village filled with sinners and doubters.
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