A Belfast Story (2013) – movie review

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Movie Review by EDF

Stars: Colm Meaney, Malcolm Sinclair, Tommy O’Neill
Director: Nathan Todd

Considering that there will always be tension in Northern Ireland until those that represent the warring factions of the old guard are dead and gone, peace is something that will always be precariously balanced on a knives edge. This is where A Belfast Story comes in, where it looks at what happens when that peace is about to be shattered by acts of violence which is all but random. To try and present a story that pretty much tries not pick sides is no easy feat.

A BELFAST STORY finds the inhabitants of the city living in an age of restless peace, which is shattered by the murder of an old member of the I.R.A. A weary detective, played by Colm Meaney, who has his own ghosts to deal with, is assigned the case by his Chief Constable (Malcolm Sinclair), who has his own political agenda. Immediately realising that regardless what the outcome of the case will be, the Detective will be nothing more than a scapegoat regardless of the result. One by one, more members of the I.R.A. are being murdered. These are not just any planned murders, these are well thought out executions that are similar to the methods these particular terrorist members performed on their victims. Who will be next on the list is what the detective tries to find out. Before the peace process, the detective would have quickly figured out those who were behind the murders but things are now not what they seem.

What essentially should have come across as a cinematic experience feels like an average TV movie. The plot is at times confusing and first time director Nathan Todd’s pacing plods at times. Colm Meaney, backed by a competent cast, makes this a watchable affair but compared to other recent Northern Ireland based movies, this one will be remembered more for the upsetting promotional packs sent out to certain reviewers than for what the movie was trying to achieve.

4 out of 6 stars