Absolution is a dull, gloomy, nasty, contrived marketplace misfit, apparently designed to ride on Richard Burton’s shirttails.
Or in this case his cassock since the actor portrays a stern, super devout priest-teacher in a Catholic boarding school for boys. Gist of Anthony Shaffer’s melodramatic plot has to do with a catch-22 test of Burton’s faith as two embittered students, taking advantage of the secrecy of the confessional box, conspire to drive him round the bend and to an unwitting killing.
It’s heavy, artless going, with an abrupt, embarrassing (for Burton) conclusion. Anthony Page’s direction is routine, perhaps unavoidably.