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The Wind That Shakes the Barley

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Reviewer's grade: A

The British/Irish "troubles" of 1916-21 and the civil war that followed the peace treaty provide the backdrop to this tale of the loss of humanity war requires. Cillian Murphy stars as Damien, a young Irishman who joins the guerilla movement to chase the English back to their own country and never realizes that what he calls love of liberty drains him of mercy and decency.

 

The movie can be tough at times, as the fighting is realistically filmed "? that means it isn't made palatable just because it's for a good cause. Traitors to the cause are executed and captured guerillas are tortured for a variety of reasons: to gain information, out of revenge, and just because it has been authorized from above.

 

If any of this reminds you of a more recent conflict that escalated into a civil war, I doubt the similarities occurred  by accident. Winner of the Palme d'Or at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival. The film is unrated in the U.S., but surely would get an R. Not rated

 

- Doug Bentin

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