Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Wind That Shakes the Barley DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Historical Epic about Birth of the IRA Out on DVD

It is Ireland in 1920, a time when freedom was in the air, and the working class was agitating for independence. So, England sent over brutal goon to intimidate the suffering proletariat.
To put the unfolding scenario in proper historical perspective, the British had first invaded the Emerald Isle back in the 12th Century, establishing at that time a feudal system which ensured that avaricious noblemen could enrich themselves at the expense of the local populace. These absentee land barons dispatched emissaries to govern on their behalf, implanting a system of taxation and rents designed to keep the Irish forever indebted.
However the famines and poverty eventually visited upon the land left the population with no options other than to leave the country or to fight for their freedom. Though savagely suppressed by the Brit ruling class, by the turn of the 20th Century, a revolutionary movement had coalesced into a force which could no longer be denied.
Winner of the Best Film at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival, The Wind That Shakes the Barley is a powerful political saga which chronicles the rise of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) as seen from the perspectives of two brothers (Cillian Murphy and Padraic Delaney) participating in the insurrection. The picture unfolds in the County of Cork where we find the siblings initially at odds with each other.
One is a doctor, and not at all inclined to become a guerilla, despite dramatic evidence of atrocities on the part of the occupiers. But enough is enough, and after 700 years it falls to their generation to throw off the yoke of oppression in a bloody insurrection.
Not merely a cinematic masterpiece from start to finish but a righteous rallying cry for disenfranchised masses anywhere with nothing left to lose but their chains.

Excellent (4 stars)
Running time: 127 minutes
Studio: Genius Products
DVD Extras: Commentary by director Ken Loach and a featurette looking at his body of work.

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