(Review originally written at 13 January 2007)

In these times of big action movies and special effects laden movies, it's always good and refreshing to see that also still realistic and important movies, such as this one, are being made.

"Bloody Sunday" gives us a good and fairly detailed view on the event that happened January 30, 1972 in Derry. The events that in history are now better known as 'bloody Sunday'. The day that 13 protesters were killed and 14 more were wounded by Britsh troops, during a civil right protest march. The movie is filmed in almost a documentary kind of style and shows both sides of the stories, leading up to the bloody and shocking event.

The power of the movie is most definitely in its realism and authenticity. The entire movie is shot without the use of artificial light and all the camera-work is hand-held. It gives the movie a documentary like feel and puts us right into the middle of the events. It makes everything in the movie work out more powerful. The anger, the desperation, the disbelief. The emotions all become extremely sensible, the moment fire gets randomly opened upon the civilians, men, women and children, young and old, which eventually meant the death of 13 unarmed men and boys.

The movie doesn't pick sides, since it tells the story from both sides, the protesters and the British troops. However the events as presented in the movie can't help but to make you feel sympathy for the protesters. I mean, if I were British I wouldn't feel proud while watching this movie. I however don't think it would had been possible to make the movie more neutral, without losing its power and all of its emotions. The movie also does a very well job to get us inside the heads of the British paratroopers. They hype each other up and get provoked by the protesters and when they're finally getting released upon the massive crowed, there is no holding them back. It's of course not an excuse for what they did (though none of them have been ever found guilty of anything) but it does give us a look at the factors that contributed to the reasons for what they did. So all in all, I really think that the movie is about as neutral as it could had been. It doesn't pick sides, it just tells the story like it happened, though 'officialy' still a lot of things remain unclear on what 'truly' happened on the day of January 30. Official inquiries results differ from eyewitness reports for instance.

Due to its realism and authenticity, the movie has an overall very gritty feel. It also makes the performances work out very realistic, almost if all of the characters are being played by non-actors, which for some part also is true. Still the movie also features some good well known actors such as James Nesbitt and the underrated Tim Pigott-Smith, who can play an hate-able character like no other. Some of the actions and responses from the non-actors in this movie are at times a bit distracting but obviously not distracting enough to ruin the movie in any way.

The movie focuses purely on the events of January 30, 1972. The movie doesn't ever get political and it doesn't say much about what happened before and after the events as presented in this movie, though Ivan Cooper's words at the end of the movie pretty much sum it all up.

Yes, at times the movie does tend to dramatize a bit too much but overall the movie does a very good job at keeping the atmosphere and emotions as authentic and sensible- and therefor also powerful, as possible.

The movie does use a constant fade to black editing technique which does work distracting at times. It's a technique normally shamelessly often used by mostly amateur filmmakers. It's perhaps the only flaw in the film-making, of this further more perfectly made production. Paul Greengrass' directing and approach of the events is very direct and works realistic. It makes the emotions really hit you, making this one of the most powerful movies in recent years.

An important- and powerful historical movie to watch.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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