But blood for blood without remorse I’ve ta’en at oulart hollow.

7 June 2006

While I was home I had the wonderful opportunity to read The Sunday Independent[1] cause the parents get it every weekend. And what a load of unreadable tosh a lot of it is. Not that there is all that much choice on a Sunday. In Sligo we get the Sindo, The Sunday Tribune and The Sunday Times. The mudder says the only reason to get the Sindo is for the jobs section, but I’ve a feeling it is more down to habit than anything else. Anyways, despite my dislike of the style of the Independent there was one article that I liked. One[2] which pointed out the ever so slight differences between the English version of certain papers and their Irish versions.

The winner of this year’s Palme d’Or at Cannes was Ken Loach’s The Wind That Shakes the Barley[3] which deals with the Irish civil war, and the behaviour of British forces during the War of Independence. Now I haven’t seen the film, I’ll be going when it is released, and I’ve a feeling that I won’t like it’s politics. It’s supposed to be more in favour of the anti-treaty side, whereas I’m a Michael Collins-pro-treaty sorta person. But I’ll wait till I’ve seen the film before I judge it[4] I’m more interested in the fact that the Sindo seems to be correct in its pointing out how the English papers are reporting it:

  1. The Times give ou about Loach’s Marxist philosophy and say he shouldn’t have been in Cannes as it is all about the capitalism
  2. The Daily Mail think that Loach just likes attacking his own country. And sure wasn’t the Empire a great thing anyway, “With all its deficiencies, it brought much of value to most of the countries it occupied. Also, it all happened a long time ago and no one should be forced to apologise for it.” Hmmm. What else should you expect from the Daily Mail though
  3. Back to The Times again and it again Loach is attacked for being English. Or at least, for being English and daring to suggest that the English soldiers during the War of Independence weren’t all heroes. This despite the fact that it is an historical fact that the black and tans did commit reprisals and random shootings. Course the IRA did too. Maybe Loach doesn’t show that, in which case, fair enough, complain about that. But what I particularly like is the fact that although these articles are critical of Loach and The Wind That Shakes the Barley the film itself isn’t actually reviewed. Does this mean they haven’t seen it?

Course the fact that Loach then justified the film “exclusively” in also makes me go hmmm. But as I haven’t seen the film I can’t complain about it, or judge it, unlike some who know all about it before they go:

The reason why I won’t be going to his film (which I couldn’t see before I wrote about it as it had been shown only at Cannes) is because I can’t stand its sheer predictability.

Personally I think I may be more bothered by Cillian Murphy’s voice. In all the trailers I’ve seen so far he sounds very like Gift Grub’s version of Roy Keane.


  1. Sunday Indo site
  2. Two-faced tabloids sneer at film success but not in Irish editions
  3. IMDb page
  4. despite not being released yet it has a score of 4.8 on IMDb, I wonder have they all seen it

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8 Responses

  1. Mal says:

    Generally I find Irish people's suspicion of and hostility towards England tiresome…but I have to say, I do get a bit sick of Irish films being routinely dismissed by English critics.

    Take Breakfast on Pluto. That was a brilliant film, in my opinion the best Irish film except Michael Collins, and it was given very mediocre reviews. Then there's films like Spin the Bottle or Song or Inside I'm Dancing, not masterpieces by any means but deserving of more than a few bland lines.

    And Michael Collins IS a masterpiece, and I can't help but think that if it had been a film about an English historical figure it would be recognised as such.

  2. NineMoons says:


    Wow, I'm agreeing with Mal!! I feel a bit dizzy and light-headed. I think I'll have a little lie-down. As soon as I finish my 9 hour day at work anyway…

  3. Terri says:

    {sigh} I still have so much to learn about this country. What, for heaven's sake, is a Gift Grub??? 'Cos y'know, even though I don't know what / who it is, that li'l sentence still made me chuckle ;)

    But yeah, gotta love critiquing the film for it's predictability before you've seen it. Isn't that sort of a catch-22 situation..? Oh dear, now my head is spinning too.

  4. James says:

    Shocking…. I'd love to see someone make a major film that really exposes the horrors of British colonialism. If you want a setting, just throw a dart at the map of the world. I'm looking forward to WSB… my only problem so far is the extremely cheesy title.

  5. Fence says:

    Terri Gift Grub is a comedy sketch show on Today FM, named because it started out with Bertie Ahern giving cooking lessons.

    Hi James, what if my dart lands in the Arctic ;)
    I suppose from certain colonialists they were doing other countries a favour, in a messed up overly paternalisitc way. And you know what they say about sparing the rod.

  6. NineMoons says:

    You can't throw a DART fer Chrissakes! As if commuting isn't difficult enough.

  7. Ann says:

    I read that very article and found it simultaneously interesting and irritating, with a slight edge to irritating. I know papers are in the business of making money, but transparent pandering really puts me off.

    What bothered me the most was the alleged citing of unnamed sources to trash the film, which has apparently resulted in only 30 British cinemas picking up the film.

  8. Fence says:

    I'm not sure if it is just the negative reviews, from what I've read Loach's films rarely get shown to a wide market in the UK, although this may be getting an even smaller release.