Land and Freedom - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Land and Freedom Reviews

Page 1 of 14
½ October 6, 2016
Loach creates a masterful drama about a different kind of 'innocence lost': that of political idealism. Clever examination of the Spanish political landscape are buoyed by great performances from the international cast, and a lack of sap.
September 2, 2015
In spring 1936, a young unemployed worker and member of the Communist Party, David Carr (Ian Hart), leaves his hometown Liverpool to travel to Spain and join the International Brigades in the fight against fascism. He crosses the Spanish border in Catalonia and coincidentally ends up enlisted in a POUM (Partido Obrero de Unificación Marxista) militia. In this company, as in all POUM militias, men and women - such as the young and enthusiastic Maite - fight together. In the following weeks and months he becomes friends with other foreign volunteers, like the French Bernard, and he falls in love with Blanca (Rosana Pastor), a member of POUM, who is also the ideologue of his group. After being wounded and recovering in a hospital in Barcelona, he finally joins - in accordance with his original plan and against the opinion of Blanca - the government-backed International Brigades, and he encounters the Stalinist propaganda and repression against POUM members and anarchists. They remain in Barcelona and end up fighting other anti-fascist groups. David is disappointed and decides to go back to his old band...

"Land and Freedom" is Ken Loach and Jim Allen's tribute to the ordinary volunteers that risked their lives for a better world in the fight against fascism during the Spanish Civil War. A war that was obviously complicated and quite confusing in terms of many different opinions and how they fight should be handled and what should be the result of it. It´s understandable that the Spanish rather not talk about this horrifying Civil War, but at the same time this cannot be forgotten. The direction is strong from Ken Loach, the acting truly convincing and the emotional layers are a plenty. Various languages: Spanish, English and Catalan are spoken throughout the film, and subtitles are used selectively which is a great decision in my point of view. The version I saw had no subtitles at all, but the added value of the spoken Spanish and Catalan is of my liking and due to the fact that the acting is of so high standard you still get the point of the conversations. The tale of battle for what you believe in, betrayal and lost hope is the foundation and you get an insight of the atrocities of this war against facism in "Land And Freedom". Ian Hart and the lovely Rosana Pastor are great in their roles, but then again it´s hard to just point out those two as everyone infront of the camera does a great job as said.
½ May 9, 2014
It relies on a dynamic storytelling and a faithful narrative (it even develops the famous Fets de Maig del 38 in a pseudo-critical view) whilst powerful military battles take place in the middle. Predictable, topic-filled and kind of propagandistic, though, but still an aceptable and curious approach to the Spanish Civil War from an international point of view.
½ February 28, 2014
It relies on a dynamic storytelling and a faithful narrative (it even develops the famous Fets de Maig del 38 in a pseudo-critical view) whilst powerful military battles take place in the middle. Predictable, topic-filled and kind of propagandistic, though, but still an aceptable and curious approach to the Spanish Civil War from an international point of view.
May 22, 2013
Intense drama set in the Spanish Civil War, following a young englishman's involvement in the revolution as a member of the Communist Party. Though it's an intellectual's film, Loach is also very able in transmitting the passion of a revolutionary with his raw and documentary like style which adds impact through realism.
½ February 10, 2013
A very interesting slice of history, and an ambitious undertaking, but it falls short in my humble opinion. I just didnt care about any of the characters and although some of the scenes involving the various discussions of the war were well crafted and engaging it was all a bit of a tame affair. I was expecting to be much more emotionally involved but it failed to stir anything more than a deep sigh...
November 13, 2012
A heartbreaking and inspiring film.
May 30, 2012
Very nice film
I think it really shows the division between leftist groups during the war and the division in general Thier is some action and battle scenes but nothing to exciting it's really more of an intellectual film one that makes you think
The acting was pretty good and a nice story
Note: Thier is a scene in which the socialists and fascist throw insults at each other some is in spanish some English if you know the language very comical
Overall good film
½ February 2, 2012
Slow burning but beautiful and heartbreaking; it just felt so unbelievably real. It also taught be there is still so much I don't know about this turbulent period of Spanish history.
½ October 4, 2011
The Spanish civil war, but not, in my opinion, the most interesting film about it. I did like the sense that we know little of what has happened in people's lives, but wasn't drawn in to the story.
September 9, 2011
This being Ken Loach you know the politics will be to the left when telling the story of Volunteers during the spanish civil war .

That said Loach has created a rare beast of a war film one with plenty of political brains and human heart behind it.

Ian Hart plays David Carr a card carrying communist who joins the POUM during the civil war and see's first hand how the struggle is taking its toll not only on the people but on the seperate groups fighting Franco's facists.

Carr gets to see how the POUM are badly armed but determined to fight for their cause no matter what the human cost ,he also gets to see how the REAL communists despise the POUM and how that in fighting cripples the ideals of his comardes in arms.

Only Ken Loach would have the nerve to stop the battles scenes an stage a 10 minute debate between the POUM and the peasants regarding the ownership of the land in a village they have liberated.

This debate and the course the film takes afterwards give it a real edge and snap that kept this reviewer totally engaged.

A vital history lesson then from a vital director.
Super Reviewer
February 10, 2011
It is, perhaps, surprising that more films about the Spanish Civil War haven't been made. The Spanish landscape, the sheer ruthlessness of any civil war, and the perceived Spanish emotions all combine to make what would appear to be an attractive proposition for a film-maker. The names of Picasso and Lorca will forever have an association with the war, yet where are the artists representing cinema? All the more surprising then that it should have been British director Ken Loach who took up the cudgels. Loach is probably best known for his gritty portrayals of the British working class (and under-class), something that has, perhaps, made him more approachable outside his own country.

In tackling the Spanish Civil War any writer is faced with the overwhelming complexities that underlie the events. The regionalism (think only of the Catalan and Basque regions, let alone Galicia and Andalusia), the monarchy, the Catholic Church, landowners, trade unions, anarchists plus the leaderships of the Nationalist and Republican movements all combined to create a very tangled web. Add to that outside involvement, principally from Mussolini and Stalin, the vacillation of Britain and France and, of course, the omnipresence of Hitler, and anyone might wonder where to start.

Loach and Allen take their approach through the eyes of an unemployed Liverpudlian, David Carr (admirably played by Ian Hart) who, as a card-carrying member of the Communist Party, answers the call to fight for the Republic. We follow his exploits through a number of episodes, involving battles, falling in love, injury and, ultimately, a degree of disillusion as the reality of Stalin's views eventually come to dominate, and eventually destroy, his cause. The film is supremely well-made, highlighting the horrors, the camaraderie, and the political divisions. In particular, the debate amongst the militia about collectivisation after they have taken a small town takes no sides, but simply allows a number of valid arguments to be exposed within the context of the shifting sands of the war.

There is still ample material for the industry to go on to make more films on this important period in history. But Loach has set the benchmark.
Was the above review useful to you?
½ January 23, 2011
A beautiful film, in which I sobbed suffiecntly for it to merit that adjective. The best portrayel of the Spanish Civil War yet, told by the most suitable of directors.
½ November 18, 2010
Even though this is a biased view of the Spanish Civil War, this film is a thought provoking tale of a man's somewhat selfless journey to Spain to fight for something greater, and to stop the spread of fascism. However, as the plot unwinds the protagonist becomes caught up in the complexities of the war, and loses what is precious to him, representing not only his heart, but all hope in the war, making it beautiful and definitely worth watching.
October 20, 2010
Ken Loaches masterpiece in my book. For one small but important moment in time real democracy in the form of Libertarian Socialism existed amongst the militia fighting for a Republic in Spain. It was born during the Spanish Civil War and died before the war ended. This was a small, volatile and complicated part of modern history but Loach captures the mood perfectly and represents the ideologies and dreams of the people in a way that can be easily understood from one mans personal perspective. Greater powers conspired to destroy the good work but the fact that revolution gave birth to real democracy spontaneously and that it grew organically was a testament to the peoples courage and commitment. It also brings with it the hope that this may happen day.
September 27, 2010
a must see for any English speaker to get a basic understanding of Spain's modern history!
August 6, 2010
Land and Freedom is a British drama, directed by the English left-wing director Ken Loach, with a script written by playwright Jim Allen. His and Ken Loach?s Marxist, Trotskyist, and anti-Stalinist orientations are evidently present in the film, although it is arguably the theme of Stalinist repression of anti-franquist communist and anarchist militias in Spain during the Civil War, to be mainly portrayed. In the end, given the several disputes and scuffles between the various anti-Franco factions, we wonder, with the director: What is the point to all this?

The story develops through flashbacks, and it recounts of a David Carr, a British unemployed member of the Communist Party from Liverpool, who decides to go and fight the cause of the anti-franquist movement in the Spanish Civil War. The narration takes place through some letters Carr wrote, newspaper clippings, and other documents he collected, found and read by his granddaughter, right after his death. The film rides the wave of the leftoid socio-political movement of the 90?s, as already mentioned in this blog, with regards to La Haine and, similarly to the French film, this socio-political situation contributes greatly to its success, especially amongst certain circles.

Other themes present in the film are the anti-Clericalism, revealed with the summary execution of the priest culpable of exposing the militians to the Franquist; rudimentary feminism, given the fact that in the POUM, men and women fight together; and finally, the socialist matrix also appears, especially in the village assembly scene, where the peasants vote for the collectivization of the land. This scene is arguably one of the best of the entire movie; Loach?s pursue of realism reaches its apex here. The camera loses its perspective, and plunges the viewer right into the live situation, and the dialogues are apt and poignant, also considering that most of the actors participating to this scene were non-professionals.
½ July 11, 2010
Watched this last week, got it from hackney library for FREE!
Was moving and gutting what happened...Was one of his best!
fucking stalinists..lets make do, lets fucking do! I feel the pix axe shadows hanging over...
½ June 26, 2010
A grass roots look at the Spanish Civil War from the perspective of the 'freedom fighters'. The film exceeds by mostly sidestepping criticism of the fascist regime but instead looking at the in house politics of the left. The film is anchored by the excellent performance of Ian Hart and features some brilliant technicals from Loach's regular team. Loach went on to do similar work in Ireland with The Wind That Shakes The Barley.
Page 1 of 14