Some towering performances add to this dark drama

Does great theatre make a great movie?

John Patrick Shanley’s adap of his play about a priest’s suspected paedophilia over-eggs the visuals with distracting Gothic mannerisms. But it’s easy to give the benefit of Doubt when the story’s driven by four outstanding performances.

Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman are titanic but the revelations are fellow Oscar-nominees Amy Adams and Viola Davis.

Solid extras add confidence.

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