Movie Review: Belfast Featured

Andy McKinney December 05, 2021 170

When civil strife comes to the very doorstep of a family.


Big Idea

  • Two parents, two grandparents and children face choices during a civil war
  • The cast is impeccable - the script is moving
  • This film shines a light on how riots are conceived
  • Rated PG-13, thanks, Sir Kenneth Branagh
  •


A perfect little movie...


“Belfast” is a cinematic love letter to the town of that name by writer/director/producer Kenneth Branagh. Branagh was born in Belfast and was just about the age of the child who provided the pivot in this film set in the year of 1969. Some of us oldies can remember the long, drawn-out, bloody period in the history of Northern Ireland. Branagh gives us his take on the people of that time and place. He admires them. The film focuses on their courage and their everyday decency, not a bad theme for any movie.

The Troubles, as that period has come down to us, were a decidedly grim time, a time of blood, sudden death, betrayal, and pointless violence among neighbors. To emphasize that time and mood without actually showing body parts in disarray, Branagh chose to use the somber tones of black and white film.

Branagh has hired Dame Judi Dench to play granny, the grandmother to newcomer child actor Jude Hill. The scenes with Dench are gorgeous. She plays a woman plumped up by her years of life and as wrinkled as a wadded-up newspaper. Ciaran Hinds (Ceasar in the epic TV series “Rome”) plays her dying husband. The pair of seasoned actors show us exactly how love does not diminish with the passage of time and the intrusion of familiarity. Movie-goers will want to see these two.

The civil strife comes to the very doorstep of the family, two parents, two grandparents, and the children. Literally, as they step directly from their home into the street, sometimes a street filled with angry rioters. “Belfast” has the most terrifying riot scene since the famous scene in the sook in “Argo.” It made me shiver. The film shines a light on how riots are organized and fed and how quickly and easily political fig leaves over violence can be tossed aside in favor of raw power and blatant criminality.

This is one of those perfect little movies with impeccable acting, thoughtful direction, and a wise script.

It also has a soundtrack dominated by the songs of Van Morrison, another Belfast native. Van Morrison has a knack for a lyric. He even wrote and performed a special song just for the movie.

The four sawblade “Belfast” runs for a just long enough one hour and thirty-seven minutes. It carries a mild PG-13 rating. We might have had loads of bad language or horrible murders but Kenneth Branagh manages quite well without such embellishments. I should say, Sir Kenneth Branagh.


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Last modified on Sunday, 05 December 2021 06:24
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