It would take many pages to give this film a truly proper review, but this will be long enough as it is.
This film was surprising throughout and not nearly as murderously violent as the trailer suggests, though don't misunderstand, there certainly is physical violence. The real violence is psychological and emotional. This is one man's journey to finding and healing his inner child, a reckoning with the guilt and shame he's carried for years that adults chose for him when he was a boy and gave no thought to resulting consequences. It's a path to wholeness and forgiveness as an adult, that Malcom, who is unsure how to make sense of past trauma, continues to play out emotionally, physically, and metaphorically in his present life.
This is an honest film, and as such, is the hard truth about what child abuse can do to a person's life, and Malcolm (Malky) hurts many people on his journey, not the least of his victims is himself. Perpetuating abusive tendencies he has never come to grips with, he's adrift in a sea of confusion at the beginning of the movie.
If you were indoctrinated into the Catholic Church as a child and you suffered abuse in childhood at the hands of clergy, parents, or other adults, the proverbial "guilt" that this religion is known to assign by rote, can be magnified exponentially by that trauma. The depth of the damage from the child's viewpoint is dependent upon many things, including sensitivity, gender, upbringing, culture, environment, and parental maturity and guidance. In a religion that, arguably, can itself encourage psychological and emotional abuse by its very structure-and a Church infrastructure where the most convenient and the most vulnerable of us (children, women, elderly) are often used as scapegoats, objects, strawmen, and targets, the abuse is too often swept under the rug, disavowed, and are projected back onto the victim. Classic in its trope, many types of abuse hide behind religion in various forms often using gaslighting and extreme denial to convince the victim they cannot trust their own memories, instincts, and experiences. This can break the very foundation of trust in a child and prevent them from trusting themselves or others, and making it difficult or impossible to form healthy relationships.
This film does not address the complicit nature of the Church, only with one man's choices. In the end, we must decide what we will make even the most heinous of abusive events mean about ourselves. Realizing we can do so gives us the opportunity to rewrite history's narrative in our own emotional and psychological life. Ultimately, this story is about the choices and redemption of one man, the people who love him, those who judge him without meaning to, and his reckoning with himself and his "enemy as he finds the keys to his freedom.
This is an important film. This is not an "entertaining" film, though the performances are to be appreciated for being true, brutally honest, and well-acted. Bloom plays the main character with raw honesty, courage, and depth. The supporting cast is superb as well. More than once Malcom meets himself in a previous incarnation as he wrestles with his demons, so understand this film is full of symbolism and metaphor, religious and otherwise. During one sequence, Malcolm's hand is injured, a metaphor for the Crucifixion. You will fail to appreciate this film on multiple levels if you watch it only superficially.