Director: Paul Greengrass
Writer: Paul Greengrass
Starring: James Nesbitt, Allan Gildea, Tim Pigott-Smith
Runtime: 107 minutes
Views: 1st Viewing
Paul Greengrass’ television film was perhaps the directors first landmark film, and an incredibly important one at that. The film is set in a small Northern Ireland town called Derry on January 30, 1972, the day now known to many as “Bloody Sunday”. The movie of the same name accurately portrays the tragic events that took place that afternoon, where thirteen (later fourteen) people marching for the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association were killed by the British Army, with many others being injured. The events in the film are shown with incredible realism in a gritty documentary style.
The documentary style of Bloody Sunday works incredibly well, especially since it captures both sides of the story. Both the British Army and members of the NICRA are given almost equal sceen-time, and it gives the audience a real sense of what was going through the minds of both sides. Not everything about the events on January 30th are known even forty years later, but Greengrass’ film seems to do an incredibly accurate job of portraying the facts. Since there are no central characters in the film other than James Nesbitt’s Ivan Cooper (the leader of the NICRA), there isn’t opportunity for the audience to attach themselves to characters in the film. Instead, the cold hard facts are laid out in front of the viewer over the 100 minute runtime. The last half of the film is incredibly tense, violent and heart-wrenching, showing exactly how important this film really is because of its portrayal of the Bloody Sunday events. One of the films biggest flaws is the style of editing used throughout the entire movie, constantly cutting between sides and between characters, giving no sense of location or time, and making it very difficult to follow at times. The editing is crude and raw, and really distracts viewers from the events that are unfolding. This style of editing and the disassociation with any characters in the film leave me respecting the film more than actually enjoying it. I recommend it to those interested in a gritty, raw portrayal of British and Irish history. 7.5/10.