The Wind That Shakes the Barley

Ken Loach is known for moving, sumptuously photographed films that start strong and then bog down in preachy politicking. His latest, The Wind That Shakes the Barley, is a moving, sumptuously photographed film that starts strong and then bogs down in preachy politicking, so at least he’s not a flip-flopper. The film covers the story of the Irish war for independence from the perspective of two brothers, Teddy (Padraic Delaney) and Damien (Cillian Murphy), who fight together and then against each other. While the first hour is taut, exciting and emotionally complex; the latter half of the film drags down because of Loach’s effort to tell more story than fits in a single film. That, and the fact that this movie is actually called The Wind That Shakes the Barley, are huge strikes against it, but the strong performances and early pacing at least partially make up for that. No, wait, there’s no way to make up for calling a movie The Wind That Shakes the Barley.

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