The Troubles on film From Ken Loach’s ‘Hidden Agenda’ to Paul Greengrass’s ‘Bloody Sunday’ and Yann Demange’s ‘71’
The Northern Irish Troubles inspired a few clunkers, such as A Prayer for the Dying and The Devil’s Own. But there has also been a lot of thoughtful work.
Hidden Agenda ( 1990): Ken Loach returned to the limelight after a quiet decade or so with an investigation of the British government’s shoot-to-kill policy.
The Crying Game ( 1992): The conflict is background noise in most of Neil Jordan’s singular thriller concerning an
IRA man fleeing the law and his old comrades in London.
Bloody Sunday ( 2002): Paul Greengrass’s kinetic take on the massacre was made for TV, but received a limited theatrical release. It emerged almost simultaneously with Jimmy McGovern’s equally strong Sunday, a more grassroots treatment of the same material.
Shadow Dancer ( 2012): Terrific thriller featuring Andrea Riseborough as a Republican volunteer who
agrees to spy for the British. Riseborough’s Belfast accent is uncannily strong.
71 ( 2014): Made in Sheffield by a Frenchman with no Irish money, Yann Demange’s pursuit movie still offers a convincing impression of Belfast in the titular year. Jack O’Connell is the British soldier stuck in enemy territory.
From left: James Nesbitt in Bloody Sunday; Andrea Riseborough in Shadow Dancer; Jack O’Connell in 71