Release Date: March 16th, 2007 (IFC Center and Lincoln Plaza Cinemas) by IFC First Take.
The Cast: Cillian Murphy, Padraic Delaney, Liam Cunningham, Orla Fitzgerald, Mary Riordan, Mary Murphy, Laurence Barry, Damien Kearney, Frank Bourke.
Directed by Ken Loach.
BASIC PREMISE: In the early 1900s, Damien (Murphy) and Teddy (Delaney) fight for the Irish against the British and become enemies during the subsequent civil war in Ireland.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: The Wind That Shakes the Barley never becomes an exciting war film or a compelling drama. The plot begins right in the second act when the Scottish soldiers fight the British, without a proper first act that sets up the imminent action and establishes the characters. Cillian Murphy, a very capable actor, simply doesnít have enough to material to work with as Damien, a Scottish soldier. Damienís brother, Teddy, fight along with him in the war and, once they defeat the British, a civil war arises and they suddenly become enemies. Just like in the recent Beyond the Gates and Amazing Grace, none of the characters truly come to life and the action and drama feels tedious, dull and often drags. Screenwriter Paul Laverty includes some rather stilted dialogue that doesnít add much to make the plot more engaging. At least director Ken Loach does a decent job with the beautiful cinematography and, along with the costume and set designs, gives an authentic feeling to much of this period piece. With a running time of 127 minutes, The Wind That Shakes the Barley overstays its welcome.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: Unfortunately, none.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Tedious, stilted and often dull.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 8
IN A NUTSHELL: Beautiful cinematography doesnít nearly compensate for a tedious, dull plot that often drags with stilted dialogue.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: TV
The "W" Menu