Ireland 1920: workers from field and country untie to form volunteer guerrilla armies to face the ruthless "Black and Tan" squads that are being shipped from Britain to block Ireland's bid for independence. Driven by a deep sense of duty and a love for his country, Damien abandons his burgeoning career as a doctor and joins his brother, Teddy, in a dangerous and violent fight for freedom. As the freedom fighters' bold tactics bring the British to breaking point, both sides finally agree to a treaty to end the bloodshed. But, despite the apparent victory, civil war erupts and families who fought side by side, find themselves pitted against one another as sworn enemies, putting their loyalties to the ultimate test.
Ideological and passionate
- The Wind That Shakes the Barley review by Tim from London
This film is fully committed to the director's political stance on Ireland - and this is both its great strength and its main flaw. On the one hand it is gripping and driven and the sheer force of the conviction makes this a compelling film. However like many Ken Loach films it is very one sided and lacks subtlety - eg all English people are either toffs or thugs and even the IRA soldiers who supported the treaty are viewed negatively. However on balance I would highly recommend this film if nothing else for its highly committed ideological stance.
3 out of 5 members found this review helpful.
Flawed but worth seeing
- The Wind That Shakes the Barley review by Pete W
A film worth seeing - it explores the political situation in Ireland in the 1920s with a war of independence against the British turning into a civil war. The film has a very definite political bias towards the non-Treaty IRA and against the English and the Free Staters. A more even handed approach might have made for a more gripping drama.
2 out of 3 members found this review helpful.
- The Wind That Shakes the Barley review by VC
I can't believe this film got awards and brilliant professional reviews! I wonder if the director had been an unknown rather than Ken Loach if the reviews would have been so positive? The film was entirely fictional so if you want to understand the Irish rebellions etc it will be no use at all. I couldn't understand the dialogue as it was mumbled throughout. There were lots of things I couldn't understand because I know nothing of the history really, and for example, references to what I thought were "forecourts" in fact meant "Four Courts" and there were many other instances! The film seems to think you already know everything. I didn't think the acting was very good either. It didn't grip me at all and I couldn't wait for him to get executed!