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The Wind That Shakes the Barley [Import]

Cillian Murphy , Padraic Delaney , Ken Loach    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 21.77 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Product Description

Two brothers are caught on differing sides of the battle for Irish freedom in this politically minded historical drama from veteran British filmmaker Ken Loach. It's 1920, and Damien O'Donovan (Cillian Murphy) has recently graduated from medical school. Damien plans to leave the small village in Ireland where he was born to take a job in London, much to the annoyance of his brother Teddy (Padraic Delaney), who is an Irish loyalist and wants to see the British stripped of their rule of his land. While visiting Peggy (Mary Riordan), a longtime friend of the family, Damien and Teddy witness a visit by "Black and Tans," British soldiers who supposedly keep the peace in Ireland; the soldiers turn violent and murder Michaeil (Lawrence Barry), Peggy's grandson, when they discover he only speaks Gaelic. Damien is radicalized by the event, and with Teddy joins the local chapter of the Irish Republican Army, who use violence to drive British troops out of the country. While the IRA is a poor and ill-equipped fighting force, their willingness to give their lives for their cause is taken very seriously by the British, who step up their reprisals against the locals; the Black and Tans even begin directing their violence and torture against women and children, including Damien's girlfriend, Sinead (Orla Fitzgerald). In 1921, Britain attempts to end the violence in Ireland by creating the Irish Free State, a compromise government which will give the Irish greater autonomy while Great Britain still retains final political control of the nation. Teddy sees this as a victory and believes it's an important first step to a truly free Ireland, but Damien sees the IRA's goal as nothing short of complete independence, and the brothers and allies soon become rivals in a battle neither side can win. The Wind That Shakes the Barley received the Golden Palm award as Best Picture at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival.

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Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ireland's 20th Century revolution and civil war April 3 2013
By groshe
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
After watching this film, I finally understood the Irish civil war in the early 1920s. It is a complex period for those who have not studied this turbulent time in Irish history. I never understood who was on which side during the civil war and why. This film will really help those who want to understand 'Free Staters' and 'Republican' and interaction between the politics and the various and related organizations that are referenced such as Sinn Fein, IRA, IRB etc.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply fantastic Sept. 13 2008
By S. Gale
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I can not say enough good things about this film. Solid cast, good script, beautifull cinematography...you cant go wrong. Cillian Murphy really shines throughout.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing! March 16 2008
In 2006 I got to spend a couple weeks during the summer in Ireland. I kept hearing about this awesome movie that I "absolutely needed to see." So when I had a night to kill before my flight home I checked out the Wind That Shakes the Barley. So good. I enjoyed the acting (and the absence of any big Hollywood names). When I got back to Canada I told all my friends that they had to keep their eyes open for it to come to N. America. Needless to say, when it did come here I got it right away.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Poignant Reminder of Where Violence Ends! Oct. 18 2007
By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
As I watched this latest film on the Irish Civil War of the 1920s, I was once again reminded how easy it is for some to allow politics and the rule of the gun dominate their lives. The story, in this case, is a simple one of a family split over the critical issue of whether Ireland should accept the terms of the 1921 Truce. In typical cinematic fashion, this disagreement will result in the most tragic of circumstances of a brother being compelled to kill his younger sibling. While that kind of drama is always very riveting, the movie offered something else that spoke to my very being: the use of violence on behalf of a political cause has never achieved personal peace or social stability. As Christ admonished Peter in the Garden of Gethsamne, those who persist in taking up the sword will likely die by it. Then why is modern history - especially the Irelands of this world - full of people so intent on pursuing this self-destructive exercise? Is the lust for- and practice of - violence such an opiate for its operators that it dulls those sensibilities that are critical to the preservation of life? The awful and senseless conclusion to this production certainly makes that point in spadefuls.
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1.0 out of 5 stars A reply to loach's apologists May 17 2014
By Stuart
Set in 1920's Ireland the hero of the film is Damien o'donovan who along with his brother are the main characters in the film. He is a compassionate doctor who joins his brothers IRA column after witnessing the death of his friend at the hands of the brits and the brutality of the "black and tans". The film depicts IRA ambushes, the capture and torture of IRA members by the brits, revenge attacks on civilians by the brits etc. It also depicts the truce and then civil war over the treaty. Damien the film's hero rejects the treaty and joins the anti-treaty IRA whilst his "traitor" brother joins the free state forces who accepted the treaty.

The film has rightly been attacked for being viciously anti-British by a few commentators who rather unwisely commented without seeing the film. This is not unreasonable given the fact that Loach made another pro-IRA film in 1990. They are however, right. A chorus of attacks on the film's critics then followed. Empire-apologists face up to your colonial past was the cry!

George Monbiot was one of those who attacked Loach's critics. In an article he asks them whether they believe that the atrocities in the film are untrue. The film is viciously anti-British by intent not by accident. It demonises and dehumanises the british forces in order to propagate a political message not as an unintended consequence of telling the truth.. The British soldiers are presented as essentially less than human. They run around shouting and swearing and behaving like savage animals, torturing, murdering civilians shaving women's hair off and burning down cottages.

Well, Loach is only telling the truth his defenders say. I'm sure it's true that the British did burn down cottages and kill civilians etc.
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