A pair of working class Irish brothers are caught up in the troubles during the social upheaval caused by the fight for independence.
Set during the same period as Neil Jordan’s Michael Collins, The Wind That Shakes The Barley is a far more personal representation of the events depicted; while Neil Jordan concentrated on the political movers and shakers of the period, Ken Loach is far more concerned with the ordinary soldiers on the ground and the divisions that were created by the treaty of 1920. Although it centres around the ordinary working class folk of Ireland, I couldn’t help the feeling that we didn’t really get to know any of them on a personal level leaving little room for emotional attachments; we saw their political views and passions but learn little of them as people. Although its documentary style is more believable and gives a real sense of “being there” I felt Michael Collins had a stronger centre in the form of Liam Neeson’s powerhouse performance and the wider scope had more value as a piece of entertainment.
This film is still a powerful window on a tragic piece of Irish history however and if watched in conjunction with Jordan’s biopic, makes for a extremely interesting companion piece.