Titanic Town Reviews
Walters and Hinds, whilst a seemingly odd fit for a couple, are both marvellous; the former perfectly handling the tragic nature of the story with a hint of pluckiness that keeps the film from pure dirge, the latter capturing the animated, misanthropic nature of his character with plenty of believability. Credit too is due to the children, particularly O'Neill, who is superb, and carries the film as much as its two stars.
Another plus point is the script - though in a heated debate people probably would not be realistically able to form such magniloquently articulated points and put-downs, the quality of the dialogue shines through, especially in the more dramatic moments; far and away the highlights, particularly the finale. Tell a story about the Troubles, it's probably going to be tragic. Tell a true story about the Troubles, it's definitely going to be tragic.
One for the future: Nuala O'Neill
Stand-out scene: The ride to the IRA HQ
Brainer or no-brainer: Brainer
Stands up to one viewing or repeated?: Repeated
DVD commentary any good?: n/a
Notting Hill director Roger Michell made this immediately before his Richard Curtis collaboration and while it's not fantastic there's much to praise about this Belfast-set movie. Movies set on Irish soil during 'the troubles' follow a pattern that is set in stone and this is no exception, but it's Julie Walter's characterisation of a neutral mother who just wants peace for her kids that ensures that this rises above the flotsam and jetsam. This is worth watching for her performance alone, the comic touches that come when she tells her daughter to make the beds before her house is searched by British troops and makes conversation by asking the driver of a car taking her to the IRA HQ whether he is from Cork are priceless. The "plastic paddy" accusations regarding this movie I have issues with; Walters is from Irish stock and is clearly drawing on her own experiences of her mother and grandma in her performance. Walters is Bernie McPhelimy, who arrives in a new part of Belfast with her family and speaks out about the danger on the streets threatening the well-being of her kith and kin. That danger comes from both the British troops and the IRA and the outspoken housewife soon becomes used as a political pawn by both sides. As a study in humanity in the most trying of situations this is perfectly pitched, mostly thanks to the towering presence of Julie Walters whose ability to blend comedy and tragedy is peerless.