The Wind That Shakes the Barley

Some of you, I already know, are painfully aware of how brutally the British treated the Irish. They defeated the Irish, so they insisted that their tongue, and ONLY their tongue, would be spoken henceforth in Ireland. They discouraged schooling and then derided the Irish for being ignorant. This was the Abu Gihraib Prison, except on a national scale. (Power corrupts.)

Cillian Murphy ("Red Eye" and "Breakfast on Pluto") is forced to watch as his family is brutalized, so he and his brother join the IRA. It is interesting to see that the IRA was an out-and-out military operation, complete with smuggled firearms and ammunition, guerilla warfare training and a support system throughout the area with hideouts, transportation and other clever and somewhat marginally effective measures. When the truce is offered in the 1930s, his brother accepts the terms and stops his resistance activities. This leaves him opposed to the IRA, which continued its bombings, ambushes and other uses of deadly force against the British, and now, against the Irishmen they considered collaborators with the British. (And they valued loyalty above all!)

Brother against brother is always particularly wrenching and this is no different.

My biggest problem was the soundtrack. An Irish brogue, though colorful when telling a lilting comic tale, is indecipherable when used in scenes of screaming hysteria or whispered in an ambush. This movie might as well have been in Norwegian for all I could understand! Captions! Please!

Bottom line:
  • Production values - Brilliant!
  • Acting - Brilliant!
  • Did I like it? - How could I? I couldn't understand four words out of a hundred!