Belfast ★★★

A nice movie, not much more than that. Making a memory-based mood piece is obviously Kenneth’s mission but the story’s focus still wavers too much along with it feeling a bit slight and incomplete. Was expecting the real emotional focus to go on the kid and his crush in maths class (almost like a small-town, Irish Moonrise Kingdom). Unfortunately it’s basically dropped for the second half. This unfocused nature might be the goal, but it renders everything quite scattershot. Still, it’s fantastically acted and when Ken just let’s his actors go for it in master shots it’s great. Every scene with the grandparents is like a cinematic hug. Hinds’ grandad energy is pitch perfect and Hill anchors it when it almost threatens to bore. Jamie Dornan’s musical number is a riot but it’s not a patch on his other masterful 2021 musical extravaganza in Barb & Star! Will likely win all the awards and if so, I need someone to overlay the Sator theme over Kenneth walking up to the podium to collect his trophy. Also too digital!

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