Saturday, March 19, 2011
The Wind That Shakes The Barley
Pulling a mans finger nails out and then wondering why you get ambushed and killed later is a no brainer. But the viewer feels the anger of the Irish build and explode into action as years of abuse takes it toll. The film is based against actual historical events which I'm not knowledgable on. But what is seen to me felt authentic. The divisions within the Irish and the IRA itself are also apparent. And then when the Treaty with Britain is ratified the divisions within the population also appear. Who is right and who wrong is too difficult to unravel, because ulimately neither party is, and both suffer their respective agonies for what they believe in. It is all beautifully realised and portrayed by all concerned, both actor and script writers.
All in all this is a very, very good historical drama. I felt for both sides and yet depised the acts of brutality by a few British sadists. When you witness them you can't help but sympathise with the IRA in its retalitory actions. The acting is of a very high order but at times the Irish brogue was difficult to understand and I missed some narrative because of it. The battle scenes are low budget and without any graphic gunshot wounds etc, which is good in that it doesn't delve into bloodiness and detract from the heart of the films story.
I believe Barley is the highest earning independantly made film in Irish history. For an independant film it is well above average. It explores a period of history that is near on ninety years old and yet would still arouse emotions. I never felt like taking sides and I hope it was the makers intentions. I believe that there was two sides to the story and both are portrayed well here, even though you know where your sympathies lie. It explores the horrors of killing for a cause, the brutality it creates and what it does to those involved.
In short The Wind That Shakes the Barley is an exceptional film depicting events that are still full of controversy and passion today. It is uncompromising and any viewer whether Irish, English, or not, will 'feel' this film. You cannot help but be involved, but somehow I walked away from it unwilling to blame or judge. On the political level the Britsh got it wrong over hundreds of years. But here we see the impact on the inviduals at the grass level and what they endured for the decisions of those in power.
I liked Barley alot as it is a powerful film that just has to be seen. Keep your politics at the door and watch it with an open mind. It is historical and not political in nature, and hence a great watch for it. It is the type of film that puts you into the characters shoes and intellectually engages you one way or another.
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