Brendan Gleeson and Chris ODowd in Calvary

Fox Searchlight Pictures

When you become a priest, and you’ve done so for purely innocent reasons, you’re probably under the impression that you’re in the clear for the rest of your life. You’re doing the lord’s work and keeping to yourself, so there’s really no reason to be in fear for your safety or think that anyone would want to target you for a crime. But them’s the brakes, Father. Anyone who studies the Bible should have a firm grasp on knowing that life isn’t fair.

The first trailer for Calvary presents Father James LaVelle (Brendan Gleeson) attempting to do his job, listening to confessions of the weary and the sinning all day long. For those unfamiliar with the Catholic practice, the priest sits on one side of the confession booth, shrouded from view of the “sinner” on the other side of the panel (and that person remains anonymous to the priest, as well). The churchgoer then confesses all of her sins since the time of her last confession, and the Father assigns a prayer repentance and she’s forgiven of her sins in the eyes of the lord. Being Catholic is super easy.

The confession booth is also the perfect spot — and why has nobody thought of this before? — to commit a crime. Besides immediately getting absolved of all your sins on the spot, the priest has no idea who is plotting on the other side on the screen. One day a mysterious man appears on the receiving end of Father LaVelle’s booth with that idea in mind. It’s not forgiveness he’s seeking but revenge for an injustice long since inflicted upon him by a different man of the cloth. The good man of God just happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. With the warning that he has some time to get his life in order (which includes a daughter, played by Kelly Reilly, from a life pre-priesthood), it becomes a race to figure out exactly who’s trying to kill him and if there’s any way to stop the senseless execution.

The trailer for the film, directed and written by John Michael Donagh, has twinges of something truly sinister happening (our unknown killer is going to axe a good priest who hasn’t done anything wrong, come on), but something darkly funny running through it at the same time. When you’ve got a man of the Church picking up arms and pointing all guns to the sky, all bets are off. Here’s the question we need to ask ourselves: could the world handle Chris O’Dowd being the killer?

Check it out the trailer below:

Calvary opens in theaters on August 1st. It took home the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury at the Berlin Film Festival, so odds are we should keep our eyes on this one. 

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