Reviews

The Wind That Shakes The Barley

4

The win that shook the Brit-press, more like. In the left corner: Ken Loach’s period drama about the IRA, which scooped the Palme d’Or in Cannes. In the right: Brit writers, blowing fuses. “Repulsive!” said one. Many hadn’t seen it yet, but why let that stop the huffing and wheezing?

Is Wind a Brit-basher, then? Of course not. Loach’s tale of 1920-22 Ireland isn’t designed to demonise the occupying soldiers. Working with writer Paul Laverty, Loach focuses instead on the rifts among the Irish over the Anglo-Irish treaty of 1922, condensing the theme into the ragtag tragedy of two brothers split by politics.

This isn’t merely a dry-hump polemic, mind. As ever, Loach turns history into grand drama with economy, soul and an impassioned cast, particularly the charismatic Cillian Murphy. On a rich, 45-minute Loach love-in on this decent-enough disc, Peter Mullan and Robert Carlyle eulogise our Ken. It’s little wonder: he brings out their best.

Meanwhile, a valuable commentary sees Loach and historian Donal O’Drisceoil flesh out the film’s facts. On top of that, of course, the tale of what happens when occupying forces withdraw resonates loudly in terms of today’s world...

In its depth, drive and zeal, this deserves another look.

 

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