28 January 2023
Absolution (1978)
100 min.
Directed by Anthony Page.
With Richard Burton, Dominic Guard, David Bradley, Billy Connolly, Andrew Keir, Willoughby Gray, Preston Lockwood, James Ottoway, Brook Williams, Jon Plowman, Robin Soans.
Unsung little chiller from a story by Anthony Schaffer (1973's The Wicker Man).

At a Catholic boys school, a rather humorless Father Goddard (Burton) tutors (and 'admires') his favorite student Stanfield (Guard). But when Stanfield decides to play a warped prank on his mentor by privately confessing to a violent murder, Goddard's hands are tied by the protection of the seal of the confession.

Soon, however, the hapless priest receives more dire revelations from the demented Stanfield...drawing Goddard into an inescapable web of maddening manipulation, lies and deceit. But what's truly real and who wants Goddard as his pawn?

Adept thriller with excellent characterizations roller coasters into straight horror during the last half hour...unrelenting.

Burton is exceptional as the tortured priest, the last shot of his descent into madness quite memorable. Guard, Bradley provide equally disturbing performances.

Also known as Murder by Confession.

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