Movie Review by Susannah Macklin
Starring: James Nesbitt, Tim Pigott-Smith, Kathy Keira Clarke, Nicholas Farrell
Director: Paul Greengrass
Amateurish raw footage and clunky improvised dialogue all come together to give the required unsettling effect in bold new drama BLOODY SUNDAY.
Based around the real-life events of the infamous 1972 civil rights march that took place in Derry, Northern Ireland, it stars one of the countries most popular comedy actors, James Nesbitt in the controversial lead of this strikingly docu-drama focused film. Nesbitt, best known for his role in British TV comedy drama COLD FEET, plays MP Ivan Cooper, organiser of the peace demonstration against the imprisonment of Irish people without a fair trial. Cooper and his ‘mob’ take to the streets in a bid to make their way through the city in a peaceful manner and get their point across. However the British army is keen to clean up the streets no matter what it takes and the rest, as they say, is history.
Cleverly executed, this is a brash and honest work. Much of the ‘script’ plays like spur-of-the-moment banter against the shaky news report style footage giving it a very realistic feel. From the onset the viewer is almost purposely made to feel like an intruder on the edge of the activities – it’s neither made easy nor fun to watch – yet it’s incredibly compelling.
The only difficulty with BLOODY SUNDAY is that it’s all very much taken from the point of view of the Irish people and tends to toss aside any chance of representing an opposing stand. The ‘baddies’ – the army, are hideous cliches, their characters are larger than real life and their reasoning is seen as neither rational nor right. However the filmmakers have obviously chosen to take it from one hard angle and they have all things considered, done it pretty well.
This isn’t a movie meant for a fun night out, its more of an education – but you don’t have to be a history convert to be enthralled and outraged by this shocking and essential lesson.