First Hit: Acting is extremely strong in this film about a priest paying a price for other abusive priests’ behaviors.
The Catholic Church has been in the press for the last 10+ years for all the sexual abuse priests subjected to children in their parishes.
This film is about one innocent priest receiving punishment for his peers by one a man who was abuse every other day for years. The priest Father James (Brendan Gleeson), put on the robes after his wife died to live his life as a better person by giving to his community.
His daughter Fiona (Kelly Reilly) is looking for connection with her father because she felt abandoned both when her mom died and he went into the priesthood. The abused man tells the priest in confessional that he’s got a week to get his affairs in order because he’s going to be killed. He tells Father James to be on the beach in a week to be killed.
Father James is good friends with many of the towns’ folk and he is respected and admired, one of which is a writer (M. Emmet Walsh). In the last week of his life we watch Father James put his affairs in order and explore other options to saving his life.
Gleeson is sublime in his role as a man who has found the priesthood to be a path by which he can give guidance and his learned lessons back to the community. Reilly is wonderful as his lost daughter trying to better understand her life and how to be happy. Jack Brennan was outstanding as one of the abused people. Walsh was great to see. His character emanates into film with gentle job. John Michael McDonagh wrote and directed these outstanding actors with clarity and purpose.
Overall: This was a very good film that touches directly on the latter effect of priestly abuse.