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Abandoning traditional filmmaking methods in favour of a more documentary style, Bloody Sunday is frighteningly realistic, especially when detailing the chaos into which the peaceful demonstration descended. Those who are only familiar with James Nesbitt through his lighter work (Cold Feet for example) may find this something of a shock, but he excels in the role of local politician Ivan Cooper. Admittedly there is a danger in presenting historical facts in a dramatic manner, no matter how painstaking the research, even though much of the dialogue here is taken straight from testimony and actual military transcripts. But if any question of bias arises, its worth remembering that this film was written and directed by an Englishman, stars a Derry protestant as well as a young man whose uncle was killed during the march, and was produced as an Anglo-Irish project. The result is an unforgettable and unflinching piece of cinema not to be missed.
On the DVD: Bloody Sunday absolutely has to be seen on DVD. The slew of extra features not only complement the film, but place it in the overall context of the past, present and future of Northern Ireland. The various interviews with cast, director and producers paint a picture of a film that sets out to heal wounds and build bridges on all sides and to break the cinematic mould. Thus the majority of the cast were not actors but ordinary people from the Derry area, with the majority of the British soldiers played by ex-military personnel, some of whom had served in Northern Ireland themselves. As more and more of the story behind this remarkable film is revealed, so its impact becomes more intense and its aims and purpose more successful.--Phil Udell
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