15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
An Irish Perspective, 1 April 2008
I have to say I enjoyed this film immensely. I thought it brilliantly portrayed the struggle at the time and commend Ken Loach for tackling such a sensitive subject matter. The Black and Tans were notorious for their atrocities and we all grew up in Ireland listening to stories about them. They ransacked my Great-Grandparents' house and torched neighbouring villages. I am aware that they had come back from appalling world war one trench conditions and do realise that they were victims of the establishment in Britain at that time. Ken Loach could perhaps have considered that but the fact remains that their treatment of the Irish was for the most part brutal and ultimately he is telling an Irish story albeit at a particular point in time. Cillian Murphy is brilliant and Padraic Delaney is absolutely gorgeous. It's great to hear an authentic Cork accent on the silver screen too! I particulary liked the way Cillian visited the poor family as a Doctor and showed the appalling poverty that was prevalent in Ireland at the time.
The film might be a bit confusing if you haven't an iota of Irish history as really there were two civil wars going on. The one between the republican Irish and the Unionists (which obviously became a full blown civil war in the 60s and 70s) and then ultimately what the film depicts; the less famous civil war between the pro and anti-treaty forces following the War of Independence and the creation of the freesate (or what is now the Irish Republic) and Northern Ireland. Oh and just to set the record straight- an earlier reviewer commented that Ireland had agreed to the Act of Union with Britain in 1801. The vast majority of the native Irish did NOT have the right to vote in 1801. Under the Penal Law system Catholics could not vote or become an MP (among other things-see Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829) until the advent of Daniel O' Connell and Parnell much later. It is however an excellent film made by a very talented and great Englishman. I highly recommend it.