Review: "The Wind that Shakes the Barley"
Set in Ireland in 1920, The Wind that Shakes the Barley is, on the surface, a tale of the Irish rebellion against the British, and the radicalization of a young doctor (Cillian Murphy) as he joins the IRA to drive the British from their homeland and establish a free Irish state. But what Loach creates here is not a mere historical document; instead he draws very clear parallels between the Irish rebellion and the current Iraq war - a band of guerrilla fighters fighting against an occupying force who labels them terrorists. It's a disturbing and thought provoking parallel, and it gives the film an immediacy that, even though it takes place 87 years ago, makes it urgently and vibrantly current.
It's one of the many points to ponder in The Wind that Shakes the Barley, one of the richest cinematic feasts I have seen in a while. It is a powerful, haunting work, and a dire warning of history repeating itself.
THE WIND THAT SHAKES THE BARLEY; Directed by Ken Loach; Stars Cillian Murphy, Padraic Delaney, Liam Cunningham, Gerard Kearney, William Ruane; Not Rated