The Wind that Shakes the Barley
Every once in a while a film comes out trying to tackle the delicate and complicated history of "the struggles" in Northern Ireland. The Wind that Shakes the Barley is one such film. I have seen some stuff on the subject, but despite the whole thing being on my doorstep, and despite having grown up during a period of bombings by the IRA, my knowledge of all of this is incredibly patchy.
I figured, though, that if anyone might be able to put together a credible, intelligent, and thought-provoking movie on the subject, then Ken Loach would be the man.
By casting the versatile young actor Cillian Murphy ("You might remember me from such films as 28 Days Later, Red Eye, and Batman Begins") in the lead, Loach could have guaranteed himself a decent-sized audience, but it's still a tricky subject. The IRA -- the early days of which this film tells the tale -- is hardly a much-loved organization here in Britain, despite it having won some misguided support in certain parts of the United States.
But to be honest with you, the performances and direction are so pitch-perfect that one actually begins to see how the IRA, in its original form, was a completely justified body. The trouble with "based on true events" type of pictures, of course, is you never know how much the truth has been stretched. I don't have the time to check the historical accuracy of the storytelling of this film, but I have faith in Ken Loach, and as such he has really opened my eyes here.
In these days of wars on terror, it's fascinating to look at the "terrorists" from the other side of the fence, from the side of, y'know, perhaps they're just protecting what is rightfully theirs. A highly recommended film from one of the masters of modern British cinema.