Reviews: The Wind That Shakes The Barley

A ludicrously perfect film.

This is an outrageously amazing movie, pretty much the perfect film about colonialism or war or resistance to oppression. As good, or better, than Battle of Algiers. That's how good it is.

Cilian Murphy absolutely steals the show, but not one member of the cast is out of place. His brother, played by Pádraic Delaney, has a powerful performance.

Some idiots have accused the film of being unfair to the British. This is nonsense. The worst it shows the British doing is torturing prisoners, which was objectively routine. To some people, of course including inconvenient facts we'd rather forget shows "bias". A fair observer (ie, outside the British conservative press) would conclude that Wind goes easy on the British. It doesn't include any mass murder, for instance, which was common, or any rape, or any truly random acts of violence.

In any case, despite the silly dishonest furore that has been invented around an imagined version of the film, it isn't really about the Brits at all. Really, the focus of this film is the struggle of the Irish to earn independence and the kinds of effects that has on them and their society. Crazy, I know! Basically the question the film asks is: what does violence, even morally justified violence, do to a society? Can it ever be morally right to lie, or is compromise never acceptable? Does blood run thicker than water?

These questions do not have clear answers and that is why the film is so truly effective: moral complexity.