Calibre (film)

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Calibre poster.jpg
Directed byMatt Palmer
Produced by
  • Alastair Clark
  • Anna Griffin
Written byMatt Palmer
Music byAnne Nikitin
CinematographyMárk Györi
Edited byChris Wyatt
Wellington Films
Distributed byNetflix
Release date
Running time
101 minutes

Calibre is a 2018 British thriller film written and directed by Matt Palmer. After a debut at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, it was released on 29 June 2018 on Netflix.[1] It also had a limited release in select Curzon Cinemas in the UK from 21 October to 16 November 2018.[2] The film is set in Scotland and concerns incidents on a hunting trip to the remote Scottish Highlands, and stars Jack Lowden and Martin McCann.


An aggressive Edinburgh businessman, Marcus, takes his old boarding-school friend Vaughn, whose fiancée is newly pregnant, on a weekend hunting trip to a remote village in the Scottish Highlands. Vaughn has never been hunting before. They spend the night at a local pub, where they meet Logan, a community leader who bemoans the rural village's economic problems; and two young women, Kara and Iona. After a night of dancing and drinking, Marcus leaves the pub with Kara, despite being warned to stay away from her. Vaughn and Iona nearly kiss but Vaughn mentions his pregnant fiancée, so they return for another drink instead.

Early the next morning, Marcus rouses a hungover Vaughn for their first hunting excursion. On the drive to a nearby reserve, Vaughn deduces Marcus has used cocaine and chastises him. Vaughn realizes he's forgotten the ammunition for the rifle he was to use, so Marcus lets him borrow one of his, despite this technically violating the UK's strict firearm registration laws. Vaughn lines up a shot on the head of a doe, but the doe turns away, causing Vaughn to shoot and kill a young boy, unseen behind the deer. The boy's father arrives and turns a gun on Vaughn in retaliation, but Marcus shoots him from a distance. Vaughn wants to report the accident to the police but Marcus convinces him they will be arrested as murderers. Marcus hides the bodies and the two drive north, hoping to give the impression that they were not in the area of the accident. Marcus is told by a gas station attendant that Logan said no other hunters are out at all in the entire area, and convinces a traumatized Vaughn the only way to protect themselves is to return after nightfall and bury the bodies.

The two return to town and are invited to dinner by Logan and his brother Al; Logan asks if Marcus can put him in touch with investors who might help revitalize the struggling community. At night they return to the scene to bury the bodies. Marcus recovers the bullets, using a hunting knife to dig Vaughn's bullet out of the boy's skull, over Vaughn's strong objections. They return just before dawn but they are spotted from afar by the innkeeper's young son.

The next day, their plan to leave town is thwarted when Brian, another of Logan's brothers, slashes the tyres on Marcus's jeep and attacks him for sleeping with Kara and giving her cocaine. The jeep is towed to a garage, where the mechanic tells Marcus the repairs will not be completed until the next day. They return to the pub to hire a taxi, but find the prospective driver drunk. On Logan's orders, Brian offers an aggressive and insincere apology to the two for his prior behavior, while bitterly complaining that the highlanders are beholden to "city twats" because they might bring money into the town. While Marcus is in the bathroom, Vaughn speaks with Al and Iona and realizes the dead man and boy were Logan's nephew and brother-in-law. Al's suspicions are raised when Marcus, upon returning from the bathroom, asks about "them" despite having only heard that one person, Logan's nephew, was missing.

Logan asks the two to join a search party to find his nephew and brother-in-law, which they feel compelled to accept for fear of arousing suspicion. Brian's scenthound quickly leads the party right to the bodies. While the rest of the group digs up the fresh grave, Marcus and Vaughn make a run for it, but the fuel tank of the jeep is ruptured by a bullet from Brian. They flee on foot; Vaughn stumbles and is attacked by Brian's hound, which Marcus stabs to death. As the rest of the group closes in, Marcus leaves the injured Vaughn. Brian savagely beats Vaughn before being pulled off by Logan; the rest of the group continue to pursue Marcus.

Logan and Brian take Vaughn back to town, where Vaughn tells them the whole story. Brian wants to kill both Vaughn and Marcus; but Logan, realizing their deaths would not go unpunished, insists on turning them over to the police instead. Brian flatly rejects this, claiming there isn't sufficient evidence to convict them and Vaughn will just change his story to save himself. Just as Brian moves to finish Vaughn off, word reaches them that the group has caught Marcus. Vaughn is locked in a barn under armed guard.

The next morning, Logan gives Vaughn an ultimatum: he must kill Marcus, or Brian will kill them both. Vaughn desperately refuses to shoot his friend, even after being reminded of his fiancée and unborn child, and repeatedly breaks down in tears. However, under gunpoint from Brian and the other locals, he eventually shoots Marcus. The locals hide Marcus's jeep and, before Vaughn's fiancée arrives, Logan instructs Vaughn to tell the police that Marcus left him and drove north.

Months later, a visibly shaken Vaughn wakes up in the middle of the night to tend to his newborn child. He cradles his child, but stares ahead with a haunted look.



The film was nine years in the making, and began filming in November 2016.[3][4]

In May 2018, it was reported that Calibre had been picked up by Netflix for distribution and would first world premiere at the Edinburgh International Film Festival.[5]


Calibre premiered at the Edinburgh International Film Festival on 22 June 2018. The film was released worldwide on 29 June 2018 by Netflix.[6] It also had a limited release in select Curzon Cinemas in the UK from 21 October to 16 November 2018.[2]

Critical response[edit]

Calibre has received mostly positive reviews. On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 93% based on 15 reviews, with an average rating of 7.4/10.[7] Metacritic gives the film a weighted average rating of 75 out of 100, based on 6 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[8]

Guy Lodge of Variety called the film "a sensationally well-executed nerve-mangler", and gave high praise to "the level of craft and confidence on display in all aspects of Calibre, from [Matt] Palmer’s clean, lean scripting to Márk Györi’s baleful, autumn-chill camerawork to a lead performance of through-the-wringer commitment by rising Scots star Jack Lowden."[9] Neil Young of The Hollywood Reporter noted that "a mature social concern about the plight of remote, economically marginal but tightly knit communities, gives Calibre a pungent, intriguing layer of ambiguity that only sharpens the acute pain of the awful events so skillfully depicted. Both Ken Loach and Wes Craven would surely approve."[10] Catherine Renton of The Edinburgh Reporter concluded a very positive review of the film by claiming "I was exhausted but exhilarated after a taut 100 minutes of drama, and I can't wait to do it all again..."[11]


Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) and/or nominee(s) Result Ref.
Edinburgh International Film Festival 22 June 2018 Best British Film Calibre Won [12]
British Academy Scotland Awards 4 November 2018 Best Director (Fiction) Matt Palmer Nominated [13]
Best Actor in Film Tony Curran Nominated [13]
Best Actor in Film Jack Lowden Won [13]
Best Actor in Film Martin McCann Nominated [13]
Best Writer Film/Television Matt Palmer Nominated [13]


  1. ^ "Calibre". Netflix. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^ Harkines, Alistair (20 June 2018). "Edinburgh Film Festival preview: Director Matt Palmer on his Highlands-set thriller Calibre, starring Jack Lowden". The Scotsman. Johnston Publishing. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  4. ^ Miller, Phil (11 November 2016). "New high-Calibre drama begins shoot in Scotland". The Herald. Herald and Times Group. Retrieved 13 July 2018.
  5. ^ Wiseman, Andreas (15 May 2018). "Imax-Saudi Deal, Edinburgh Lineup, Screen Yorkshire, Nordisk Film, Kino Lorber, Assembly Line – Global Briefs". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  6. ^ McNeely, Kelly Marchman (8 June 2018). "Two Friends Pay For A Terrible Mistake In Netflix's Calibre". Horror Fuel. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  7. ^ "Calibre (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 13 July 2018.
  8. ^ "Calibre Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 13 July 2018.
  9. ^ Lodge, Guy (23 June 2018). "Edinburgh Film Review: Calibre". Variety. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  10. ^ Young, Neil (28 June 2018). "Calibre: Film Review | Edinburgh 2018". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  11. ^ Renton, Catherine (25 June 2018). "Edinburgh International Film Festival Review: Calibre *****". The Edinburgh Reporter. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  12. ^ Clarke, Stewart (28 June 2018). "Netflix's Calibre Wins Best British Film at Edinburgh International Film Festival". Variety. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
  13. ^ a b c d e Ritman, Alex (27 September 2018). "Netflix's 'Calibre' Dominates BAFTA Scotland Nominations". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 27 September 2018.

External links[edit]