"I tried not to get into this war, and did, now I try to get out, and can't."
A sympathetic look at Republicans in early 20th century Ireland, and two brothers who are torn apart by anti-Brit rebellion.
This fascinating film about the Irish Republican Army in 1920s Ireland has an improvisatory feel about it. Not many scenes in the movie feel scripted. There are many scenes showing groups of men and women arguing, debating and fighting, but it all feels natural, and like the way these kinds of moments would play out in real life. Indeed, thinking back on the movie, it seems like much of it took place without dialogue, or at least without significant dialogue. This may be an odd comparison, but it reminded me of Michael Cimino's style of film-making in "The Deer Hunter" and "Heaven's Gate": the emphasis on male solidarity up against forces too strong to oppose, the environment almost becoming a character in the film, the loosely choreographed scenes and the fact that much information is conveyed through imagery rather than words.
The nominal focus of the film is on two brothers who start out on the same side of the Irish/British conflict, but who become opposed to one another as the IRA fragments into conflicting factions. The brother against brother plot line is of course meant to symbolize a larger and more universal struggle, but it's not dealt with in a heavy-handed manner.
A very good and overlooked film.