Published on June 26th, 2009 | by Chris0
The Wind That Shakes The Barley (2007)
There are war movies that make you cringe. Either because of the violence or the atrocities portrayed, or the sheer evil that is shown.... and then there are films like The Wind That Shakes The Barley, which make you cringe for some of the above reasons, but for other reasons a little less obvious.
The most obvious of which is that a country that we 'mercans hold in such high regard, namely the UK, could exact such a toll on such a nearby and similar neighbor, namely Ireland. Yeah you could draw a similar (but not identical) parallel to the US Civil War, and I'll get to that, but there's just something about the way the situation in Ireland is brought to life in this film that leaves you asking yourself some questions.
Of course, this film explores the war between the Irish and the British during the 1920's. Namely the Irish want the Brits out, and want independence. Of course the Brits won't have it, and a band of men form together and fight back guerrila style against the English oppressors.
Just as the battle seems to be won, and a treaty is drafted, two of these brothers split. One, Teddy (Dadraic Delaney) on the side of the newly formed, yet still mostly British government and the other, Damien (Cillian Murphy), on the side of principle.
"Barley" is a decidely gloomy picture. I really can't say there was much to remember as being "uplifting" about it. There's no victory, no celebration really to speak of. The whole thing oozes of desperation on the part of the Republicans. And that's probably just how it should be.
The whole "brother vs. brother" thing has been explored before in films, mostly in regard to the US Civil War, the north vs. south dividing families, but I can't say I've seen a better portrayal of that than here. In fact the ending (and I won't ruin it here) should leave you shocked and saddened. It should.
The Wind That Shakes The Barley is another one of those movies that we weren't really exposed to here in the states, and in fact the conflict within is one that we here tend to not understand, or simplify in terms that really aren't correct.... If you're at all interested in the roots of the conflict, which carried on through well into the latter part of the 20th century (and some would argue still today) then you need to watch this movie. Yes, it is slanted heavily towards the Republican side of things, and not knowing everything I can't say how much is truth and how much is "propaganda" for lack of a better term... but its a good, thought-provoking, heart-twisting war movie nonetheless.
Summary: its a good, thought-provoking, heart-twisting war movie