Conspiracy Of Silence

on December 03, 2004 by Kim Williamson
Powered by superbly natural acting, crisply beautiful cinematography and Irish-themed compositions that all combine to make it an often-riveting film, "Conspiracy of Silence" tells the story of dissension within the ranks of contemporary Irish-Catholic priests over the subject of celibacy. However, told in a sort of thriller style, with older conservative priests cast as baddies that operate in minor-league mafia style, "Conspiracy of Silence" overreaches.

And it didn't have to. First-time feature director John Deery is blessed with great actors both novice (Jonathan Forbes as a seminarian unfairly thrown out for having been the subject of gay advances) and veteran (Brenda Fricker as his mother), and a film less military in its attack on the Church and more invested in the lives of its well-drawn characters would have been even more effective. The filmmaker's argumentation is confusing also: The opening boasts a priest at a Vatican meeting announcing that "the Church has AIDS," which has nothing to do with sacerdotal chastity, but the main plot follows Forbes' (heterosexual) character and his drive to become a priest, which also has nothing to do with priests' celibacy. "Conspiracy of Silence" leaves one with the feeling that a good movie has been told in place of a great one. Starring Jonathan Forbes, Jason Barry, John Lynch, Hugh Quarshie and Patrick Casey. Directed and written by John Deery. Produced by Davina Stanley. A Watch release. Drama. Unrated. Running time: 84 min

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