The British Black & Tan squads act with extreme prejudice against the Irish, the Irish retaliate, the British retaliate against that retaliation, and so on - this continues until a truce is arrived at ... and then the picture ends on a note of cheap irony. Visceral and unrepentant, this is a mean-spirited picture that brings out the fervor in Loach who, to his detriment, thinks too much with his heart and not enough with his head. His empathies are with the Cillian Murphy doctor-turned-rebel, but it's a fatalistic viewpoint - isn't it better to live and fight than die and get nothing accomplished aside from martyrdom? Couldn't the same be said - if I may be permitted to extend this to modern times - about suicide bombers?
The Wind That Shakes the Barley
Director: Kenneth Loach
Year Released: 2006