The Wind That Shakes the Barley - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Wind That Shakes the Barley Reviews

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July 1, 2016
Pretty decent period piece with an engaging story and decent acting. I just don't think it was wildly memorable. Felt like something that might have been a 2 parter on ITV rather than a fully fledged film.
Super Reviewer
½ May 30, 2016
Interesting story. I would recommend this if you're interested in Irish history or the rebellion.
April 7, 2016
it's so fabulous i wanna see it
January 9, 2016
This film is really brutal, and harrowing, and I know people who will watch it multiple times and I don't know how they do it. My Irish relatives keep giving me DVD copies of this film as if I'd want to watch it more than once. At times it feels a little bit aimless, and therefore hopeless, but it's a solid war drama / biopic and is just solid and good. I have to admit that it's good. Yeah, Cillian's pretty great too.
½ November 23, 2015
"The Wind That Shakes the Barley" is a straight forward war drama that brings all of its devastation front and center.
½ October 21, 2015
A gorgeously shot film that features grand performances and a harrowing true-to-life story.
½ October 2, 2015
The movie really sneaks up on you in Murphy's best performance.
½ August 1, 2015
The Wind that Shakes the Barley is a decent historical drama with a distasteful ending
½ July 7, 2015
A sad heartbreaking film about the Irish conflict. It is very bleak, but the cinematography is beautiful.
½ June 20, 2015
County Cork, Ireland, 1920. Dr. Damien O'Donovan (Cillian Murphy) is about to leave his native village to practise medicine in a London hospital. Meanwhile, his brother Teddy (Padraic Delaney) commands the local flying column of the Irish Republican Army. After a hurling match, Damien witnesses the summary execution of his friend, Micheál Ó Súilleabháin, by British Black and Tans. Although shaken, Damien rebuffs his friends' entreaties to stay in Ireland and join the IRA, saying that the war is unwinnable. As he is leaving town, Damien witnesses the British Army vainly trying to intimidate a railway guard and the train driver for refusing to permit the troops to board. In response, Damien decides to stay and is sworn into Teddy's IRA brigade. After drilling in the mountains, the column raids the village's Royal Irish Constabulary barracks for revolvers, then uses them to assassinate four Auxiliaries. In the aftermath, Anglo-Irish landowner Sir John Hamilton coerces one of his servants, IRA member Chris Reilly, into passing information to the British Army's Intelligence Corps. As a result, the entire brigade is arrested. In their cell, Damien meets the train driver, Dan, a union official who shares Damien's socialist views. Meanwhile, British officers interrogate Teddy, pulling out his fingernails when he refuses to give names of IRA members. Later, Johnny Gogan, a British soldier of Irish descent, helps all but three of the prisoners escape. After the actions of Sir John and Chris are revealed to the IRA's intelligence network, both are taken hostage. As Teddy is still recovering, Damien is temporarily placed in command. News arrives that the three remaining IRA prisoners have been tortured and shot. Simultaneously, the brigade receives orders to "execute the spies." Despite the fact that Chris is a lifelong friend, Damien shoots both him and Sir John. Later, the IRA ambushes and wipes out a convoy of the Auxiliary Division, and in retaliation another detachment of Auxiliaries loots and burns the farmhouse of Damien's sweetheart, Sinéad Sullivan. Sinéad is held at gunpoint while her head is shaved dry, cutting her scalp. Later, as Damien treats her, a messenger arrives with news of a formal ceasefire between Britain and the IRA...

"The Wind That Shakes the Barley" is set during the Irish War of Independence (1919-1922) and the Irish Civil War (1922-1923). Widely praised, the film won the Palme d'Or at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival. Loach's biggest box office success to date, the film did well around the world and set a record in Ireland as the highest-grossing Irish-made independent film ever, until surpassed by The Guard. "The Wind That Shakes the Barley" focuses on the acts of war/self-preservation and for standing up for your civil and human rights. The turmoil and horrors the main characters have to prevail are intense, emotional and thought provoking. The british are not portrayed in a very humanistic or nice way and of course you feel that the film is heavily focused on the Irish and their struggle. I have no insight in how the british acted during these times, but one can´t help to wonder about Loach romanticizing of the Irish brutal actions contra the "evil" british and their actions. The film was attacked by some commentators, some of whom had not seen it, including Simon Heffer. Following the Cannes prize announcement, Unionist historian Ruth Dudley Edwards wrote in the Daily Mail on 30 May 2006 that Loach's political viewpoint "requires the portrayal of the British as sadists and the Irish as romantic, idealistic resistance fighters who take to violence only because there is no other self-respecting course,"[23] and attacked his career in an article that Loach criticised as inaccurate. The following week, Edwards continued her attack in The Guardian, admitting that her first article was written without seeing the film (which at that stage had only been shown at Cannes), and asserting that she would never see it "because I can't stand its sheer predictability." One day after Edwards' initial article appeared, Tim Luckhurst of The Times called the film a "poisonously anti-British corruption of the history of the war of Irish independence" and compared Loach to Nazi propagandist director Leni Riefenstahl. Yet George Monbiot revealed on 6 June, also in The Guardian, that the production company had no record of Luckhurst having attended a critics' screening of the as-yet unreleased film, and Luckhurst refused to comment. Loach manages to push the actors to give everything they got and the result is very realistic and we see hesitancy, fear, despair and struggle in both the body movements and facial expressions. It´s gripping and as said emotional (the end scene is strong), but somehow I was still not as emotionally moved as I expected to be. Despite an intriguing historical storyline, good acting, nice cinematography and an emotional set up. I can´t put my finger on why I wasn´t fully gripped by the film, but maybe it was the narrative that just didn´t convince me somehow.
½ June 8, 2015
I waited for this movie to come to the U.S.A. I wasn't disappointed. Loach is a genius at showing the beauty and the conflict in the Irish situation.
½ May 9, 2015
movie convey the difficult situation and the anger , violence of that time in Ireland . It shows threw what pain and grief people went fighting against British , fighting for something they believed in. Acting was excellent same as Cinematography . Any conflict, once started, takes on a life of its own. One act of violence leads to another in retaliation and the cycle continues . you clearly see how Cillian Murphy is getting affected by this events and how they transform him , I would love to see more why he decided to stay and fight or Teddy changing side could have been shown in a little more complex way , things like that were happening in a little more common way then they should be the late ending of the movie was heartbreaking to watch in a good way ."it's easy to see what you are fighting against but it's harder to know what are you fighting for" Great Movie .
i would say this movie is similar to Braveheart .
March 22, 2015
A beautiful movie, but the violence here is so brutal, explicit, direct, definitely unpleasant. It is the war, I know, and a civil war, in part. But I never had such a feeling of horror for violence from a movie.
If the purpose was to deliver horror for the war, Ken Loach has been definitely successful.
I would like to score it 4 stars, maybe more, but I really can't.
½ January 17, 2015
Retrato fiel de la historia de Irlanda, muy buena pelicula pausada e inteligente
½ January 11, 2015
Reading the history, the Irish War of Independence and the subsequent events seem to be only a "minor" war with limited casualties, but the vicious cycle of brothers and comrades killing each other in the name of freedom and independence (and somehow righteously so, I admit) is really painful, disturbing, and thought-provoking. Although a fiction work of the War, with many dramatized details and fictitious characters, this film feels so real, so authentic for its depiction of cruelty of the British invaders and fraternity and courage of the Irish fighters. The best thing about this film is its subtle yet profound complexity, with layer upon layer of conflicts, not only between Irish and British, but also between Irish themselves, between social classes/ideologies, and between innocent spirit and the devastating truth of the war. As a Ken Loach film, this film is full of socialist and leftist ideas, but it still looks and feels surprisingly honest, sincere without any trace of pretentiousness. The all-Irish cast also excelled in their roles, under the superb direction of (ironically enough) a British director. This is a film seemingly about heroism, but it is actually a film about the death of innocence in the war - an illustration so well made that not many Hollywood films can compare with.
January 5, 2015
gripping from start to finish. i thought ifc just made crappy low budget horror films, not the case anymore. i really wasn't keenly aware of the history of what happened in ireland. this movie is a gut wrenching eye opener for those unaware of that history. the best lower budget movie i have ever seen. i actually think it better than most summer blockbusters they spend millions to produce. history gives us some of the best most emotionally trying and involving stories and this story is no exception. right in line with defiance, maybe better, great acting, highly recommend . its got true grit.
December 20, 2014
Although an exciting film, Barley crosses over the line from heartfelt to preachy far too often. I enjoyed Murphy's strong, emotional performance and it was definitely the best thing about the film.
Unlike Loach's other films, Barley gives off an air of being far too sure of itself and being incredibly one sided about a highly controversial and contentious part of history.
"The Wind That Shakes The Barley" should definitely be seen in comparison to Loach's far superior film "Land And Freedom" which is filmed in a similar style and contains a similar subject matter.
December 14, 2014
Really powerful story not gory but yet real depictions of of what war looked like for the Irish during 1920s.
October 18, 2014
Could be much better if Ken Loach didn't make it a Marxist propaganda piece; nonetheless, the film blends in well with the Irish bardic traditions it draws from and speaks with power about the social realities that underlie personal relationships.
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