Friday, March 23, 2007


War Drama

Since the 1880's, Irish nationalists had been demanding self-government from Britain. The British eventually granted this demand in 1914, but its enactment was postponed by the outbreak of the First World War. The separatist Sinn Féin party won the 1918 Irish General Election.

The Irish War of Independence began in January 1919 Ireland by the Irish Republican Army as a guerrilla campaign mounted against the British government forces still in. Although there were some large scale encounters between the two groups, most of the casualties were inflicted in assassinations and reprisals on either side.

In 1921 both sides agree to a peace treaty to end the bloodshed stipulating nominal Irish self-governance but continued British occupation. But many Irish were unhappy with the terms of the treaty resulting in the outbreak of a civil war. Families and former friends found themselves fighting each other.

Cillian Murphy: Damien O'Donovan a medical student at University College
Padraic Delaney: his older brother Teddy, leader of a guerrilla squad
Liam Cunningham: Dan, an intellectual he meets in prison
Orla Fitzgerald: Damien’s girlfreind Sinead

Historically accurate but a bit too long as it bogs down in several places, particularly when the townspeople debate the terms of the peace treaty. Although both sides of the argument are presented, we do not need that much detail to follow the ensuing story.

Production values are high and there is some fine acting throughout.

for crude and sexual humour, language and some drug references.

The title comes from the last verse of an Irish ballad written by Robert Dyer Joyce (1836-1883)
As round her grave I wander drear, noon, night and morning early
With breaking heart when e'er I hear the wind that shakes the barley.

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