The Wind That Shakes the Barley Reviews
"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," 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.
i would say this movie is similar to Braveheart .
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.
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.