Brendan Gleeson

AFI Fest 2014: ‘Song of the Sea’ has frustrating beauty

Song of the Sea is a beautiful film. Its vivid art style easily separates it from the prosaic sameness that currently grips much of mainstream animation. That’s the big advantage that animated films made by smaller outfits, such as Cartoon Saloon, have over the Disneys and Dreamworks of the world. But there’s a weakness to them as well, one that Song of the Sea stumbles on: a frustratingly muddled story approach.

‘Calvary’ is a spotlight on Brendan Gleeson

Director John Michael McDonagh wastes no time in establishing the stakes of Calvary. In a darkened confessional, Father James Lavelle (Brendan Gleeson) is told that he is going to die in a week. The man planning to kill the priest explains it is exactly because Father Lavelle has done nothing wrong that he is going to die. Of the two McDonagh brothers, John Michael is known for his irreverent comedy The Guard, but with this latest release he joins the ranks of the most fatalistic of Irish artists.

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