The Wind That Shakes the Barley (Germany/Italy/Spain/France/Ireland/UK; 127 min.)

directed by: Ken Loach
starring: Cillian Murphy; Padraic Delaney; Liam Cunningham
The Wind That Shakes the Barley

Beth says: "Ken Loach directing Cillian Murphy, about the lead up to and the start of the Irish Civil War in the 20's. I really liked this film, and give it 4 cats, however, I have to put a large caveat on that, because I'm not sure how someone who knows nothing or very little about that period might respond to the film. This one won the Palm d'or at Cannes, and reaction around me was pretty varying - so I think that this is a film that rewards previous knowledge. I also have to say I went back and forth about Cillian Murphy in one of the leading roles - at times he was chillingly perfect, and then other times it was hard not to get distracted by 'hey Cillian Murphy has amazing cheekbones'..I know Ken Loach didn't know from him when he cast him, and Cillain's a Cork boy so he came by the role honestly, but still - at times I wished it was a more anonymous actor in the role.

"This was another film about a village struggling to deal with the politics and power struggles that surround and engulf them - first, dealing with the British occupiers, then responding to the terms of the Irish Free State treaty that would have kept Irish as a British dominion. Cillian is one of two brothers whose loyalties to each other and their ideals of liberty and freedom pull them down divergent paths.

"As we were poring out of the Elgin after the film, there was a man on the sidewalk, holding aloft a brochure and shouting about Canadian nationalism, 'it's not a joke, it's very important' he responded when he heard laughter. I made a crack that he clearly did not see the movie. Because the genius of Ken Loach's approach was, he managed to convey the rightness of the good intentions and beliefs of both brothers, both factions. I later heard that the film has gotten slammed in England for being pro IRA, which I think is more a consequence of his casting choice than anything else, because I don't think the film is pro IRA at all - it showed the good and bad in all the groups. 4 cats"