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The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2007)

Cillian Murphy , Padraic Delaney , Ken Loach  |  NR |  DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (295 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Cillian Murphy, Padraic Delaney, Liam Cunningham, Orla Fitzgerald, Mary O'Riordan
  • Directors: Ken Loach
  • Writers: Paul Laverty
  • Producers: Andrew Lowe, Camilla Bray, Nigel Thomas, Paul Trijbits, Rebecca O'Brien
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Ifc
  • DVD Release Date: September 4, 2007
  • Run Time: 127 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (295 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000OCY7JO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,462 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Wind That Shakes the Barley" on IMDb

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Product Description

Driven by a deep sense of duty and a love for his country, Damien (Cillian Murphy) abandons his burgeoning career as a doctor and joins his brother, Teddy in a dangerous and violent fight for freedom. As the Irish freedom fighters bold tactics bring the British to a breaking point, both sides finally agree to a treaty to end the bloodshed. But, despite the apparent victory, civil war erupts and families who fought side by side, find themselves pitted against one another, putting their loyalties to the ultimate test.

Winner of the Palme d'Or at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival, this gripping drama by Ken Loach (Raining Stones) is set during the early days of the Irish Republican Army, when British occupation of the Irish radicalized many a citizen and caused some to take up arms. Cillian Murphy plays Damien, a medical student on his way to London when he witnesses a couple of atrocities committed by British troops. Instead of becoming a doctor, he turns into a leading and respected figure in an IRA division led by his brother, Teddy (Padraic Delaney). The film provides some fascinating historical insight into the nascent resistance movement as it was in 1920, and Loach brilliantly conveys the profound emotional transition young men had to make to become saboteurs and killers. Loach's realistic style is absolutely mesmerizing, with many scenes built around the dynamics of large groups: contentious meetings, torture sessions, battles, celebrations, and the like. One has the sense of history as a pool of energy, and one also develops a kind of Renoiresque appreciation for the fact that different people on opposing sides of a life-or-death issue have their reasons for believing what they believe. As the story moves along, subtle shifts in the perspectives of men and women who had once agreed to be absolute in their fight for freedom results in a tragic yet understandable schism among Irish patriots. The final half-hour of The Wind That Shakes the Barley says a lot about how the Irish, including people who had known one another all their lives, turned their wrath on one another for so many decades. This is an outstanding film, featuring the best performance yet by Murphy (Red Eye). --Tom Keogh

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
252 of 263 people found the following review helpful
Ireland in the early Twenties exploded into armed rebellion against the British. Two brothers at first made opposite decisions. A group of Black and Tan British soldiers arrive at a farm where the brothers and a group of other young men are resting after a hurling game (something like field hockey). The British terrorize everyone there, the men, the women, the aged and the young. They beat and kill one man for refusing to give his name in English. When they roar off, one brother, Teddy (Padraic Delaney), immediately helps form the men into armed resistors. Damien (Cillian Murphy), a medical student, decides to go on to London to a prestigious medical school where he is enrolled to finish his studies. At the train station he witnesses another group of soldiers attack and beat the train's conductor and engineer. The attacks are filled with screams and rifle butts. Damien returns to the village and joins the armed resistors.

From then on we're in the middle of a rag-tag guerilla war, driven by a stern sense of justice and a determination to force the British out of Ireland. The British use wide-spread intimidation, brutality, imprisonment and executions by courts martial. Some of the men we've met die, British soldiers die, hostages die, traitors die, a young friend of Damien's who gave information is executed by Damien. He slowly moves from a reluctant fighter to a man who has become single-minded in what he does. When a truce is declared and a peace treaty is finally agreed upon in 1922 between the British Government and Sinn Fein, the stark reality of compromise splits the fighters. On the one hand, there will be an Irish Free State with British troops withdrawn.
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68 of 72 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional and accurate April 25, 2007
After visiting Ireland nearly three years ago I undertook an exhaustive study of Michael Collins, the Irish War of Independence and the Civil War. I was finally able to see this movie after waiting anxiously since it took Cannes. I was not disappointed. I went with my husband who is not the fan I am and he was impressed as well. The acting is superb, even the flubs, and the photography, (and, of course, Ireland)is stunning. What I would most like to interject into the reviews is that the movie was an exceedingly accurate representation of the Irish situation as it was at that time. (Though I liked the movie Michael Collins, I could not say the same about it in its details.) I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to understand the various sides to the issues which the Irish, the British, the pro-treatyites and the Republicans confronted at that time.
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64 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brother against Brother March 17, 2007
"The Wind that Shakes the Barley," (from an old Irish revolutionary song) Ken Loach's uncompromising, tragic film begins in chaos: a group of young Irish men are playing a rough and tumble game of hurling while the referee yells and threatens to stop the game or eject one player or another out of the game. It's all very testosterone fueled: men at play, having fun, taking it all too seriously. In the next scene, these same men arrive at a shocking scene at the home of one of them: English Black and Tans (the occupying soldiers sent from England to stamp out the crackling embers of Irish independence), thuggish and cruel and intent on demeaning the Irish, are taunting a house of women and upon spying the young men with hurling sticks, the B&T's demand that they stand up against the house and give their names in English (not Gaelic). One man refuses to speak English. He is killed.
And so begins this shocking, mesmerizing film about a County Cork rebellion against the British, circa 1920-1922 and zeroes in on two brothers Damien (a sensitive, intelligent, driven Cillian Murphy of "28 Days Later"), trained as a doctor who feels that, instead of pursuing his life long dream of working in London, chooses instead to stay home and fight the good fight. Damien's brother Teddy (Padraic Delaney in a fueled-by-fire performance...his first movie), a big man strangling under the iron grip of the British. The Cain and Abel story is recalled here as it is in a number of Motion Pictures including "East of Eden," as Damien and Teddy eventually have a moral and political parting of the ways and find themselves on opposite sides of the Anglo Irish Treaty of 1920.
Loach's films are all about making the political personal and the personal political and "TWTSTB" is no exception.
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71 of 86 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing but Admirable Effort September 7, 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I looked forward to this film as I do to any that attempts to shed light on the struggle of the Irish for freedom from England. The movie is beautiful cinematically and the acting very convincing, although I did think Cillian Murphy somewhat miscast as Damien, the young doctor who is reluctantly converted to the IRA cause by the British brutality he witnesses. However, overall I found the movie disappointing for somewhat the same reasons as reviewer Pouliot. If the viewer does not have a pretty good background in Irish history, especially of the 1910-1922 years, he is likely to have difficulty understanding what is going on and why. The film is narrowed so sharply to one small group of guerilla fighters in Cork County that I don't know how an average viewer could put the action in perspective with the 1916 Easter rebellion, the nationwide struggle going on, the direction and control being exercised by IRA leaders in Dublin and the overall scope of the fight against the British. The biggest plus of this film, to my mind, and it is a very big plus, is that it shows graphically the kind of savagery being engaged in by the British soldiers (the "black and tans" who were sent in to support the regular British forces in Ireland) and the galvanizing effect it had on the Irish populace. It also shows the tragedy that befell Ireland when the independence movement came apart after the Treaty was signed and the die-hard Republicans refused to support the new Irish Free State, feeling that it was a sell-out to accept anything but complete freedom for the whole island. The movie does a good job of showing how the two sides could differ so drastically and still each have legitimate reasons for taking the stance they did. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Overall a good movie about a formative period in Ireland's history
A well-done film. The heavy accents were a little hard to follow from time to time, which led to greater authenticity. Read more
Published 10 days ago by gawain3
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Paints an accurate picture of The Irish uprising of 1914 when Churchill set the Black and Tan special forces on the Irish people and let them do whatever they wanted without... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Wilma K. Mussen
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very good IRA movie.
Published 2 months ago by Daniel J. Mcauliffe
1.0 out of 5 stars Suck_O_Sucked, kick it off prime!
kick it off prime!
Published 2 months ago by charles pratt
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
good movie
Published 3 months ago by William N. Scott
5.0 out of 5 stars Loach's best film
Essential viewing, cuts through the propaganda to show the true nature of how the English government was against the Irish people and how the Irish dealt with it.
Published 3 months ago by Joseph Schwartz
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Disgusting and graphic. Turned it off.
Published 3 months ago by Linda H. Krone
4.0 out of 5 stars Peek at life during the fight for Irish independence (1920)
We were not familiar with the struggle for Irish independence. The film was very well done and provided an opportunity to better understand the difficulties (even within families)... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Susan Sardina
1.0 out of 5 stars Bleak, Depressing
Depressing story about an Irishman who gives his life for nothing. Best thing is the scenery. Informational, but not a fun ride.
Published 4 months ago by Ed Sanabia
3.0 out of 5 stars Brave through it...
I feel like the subject matter had great potential, yet every scene seemed either incomplete or hard to follow/connect to the overall themes of the movie. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Alex
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