The Wind That Shakes the Barley ★★★½

This is certainly a bit bloated and I agree that it lacks some nuance and much-needed tonal changes, but it's hard to deny the visceral impact that this film has. When something is so determined, direct, and unyielding, it forces you to give your utmost attention to the story being shown on screen. And while the dialogue might not be the hero of the moment, it does escape some of the predictable cheese that you come to expect from war-related cinema.

Of course, this effect is brought on by the powerful performances. Cillian Murphy shines, but what's really interesting is the dynamic between him and Padraic Delaney, who plays his brother. Both brothers are idealistic, ambitious, and genuine, yet it's interesting how their ethics and motivations are changed by the gruesome circumstances. Liam Cunningham and Orla Fitzgerald are also great.

A film like this cannot be separated from the historical events that it portrays, especially when it views that the social revolution was no less important than the nationalist one. In any case, it's incredibly well-made and definitely serves as an eyeopener and/or conversation starter.

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