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400. Black '47; movie review

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Title : 400. Black '47; movie review
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Cert 15
99 mins
BBFC advice: Contains strong violence

Quite often lately, Mrs W and I have mused on the cruelty which seems to be prevalent in the modern world.
We are shocked by the manner at which people seem so angry with each other and the widescale support the likes of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin attract.
Black '47 reminds us that violence and tyranny is part of our history and, lamentably, is central to the human race.
However, it also serves to show that there is a spirit of defiance by those who know the difference between right and wrong and they can still eke small but important wins.
The '47 in question is 1847 when the British ruled Ireland and allowed the potato famine to cause thousands of deaths.
Indeed, the actions of the Westminster government and those of the local aristocracy prompted suffering which still causes understandable resentment nearly 200 years later.
James Frecheville plays an army deserter whose declares a personal war on those whose intransigence is responsible for the obliteration of his family.
It is revenge which both Mrs W and I silently cheered because we recognised the injustice which had been meted out.
Meanwhile, his former army officer (Hugo Weaving) is now an over-zealous police inspector who is ordered to track him down.
Weaving's character is damaged by his experiences and has little respect for the officer (Freddie Fox) who is placed in charge of the search.
Support is even less forthcoming from the hunt's Irish members, portrayed by Stephen Rea and Barry Keoghan.
To put it mildly, the British come out of Black '47 badly. If their awfulness wasn't clear enough, it becomes even more illuminated when a local lord (Jim Broadbent) comes into view.
Lance Daly's film is an important retelling of terrible deeds committed by the British colonialists, expertly recreating both the action and the backdrop of the time.
Its also demonstrates the toughness of the era with a combination of bravery, expediency and treachery.
It reminds us why feelings about the British run deep with many in Ireland.

Reasons to watch: Shines a light on the bloody history of the British in Ireland
Reasons to avoid: Upsetting and bloody scenes

Laughs: None
Jumps: None
Vomit: None
Nudity: None
Overall rating: 8.5/10

Director quote - Lance Daly: "It was amazing to me that the famine hadn’t been dealt with, no one had made a film about it, it was sort of the mountain that nobody had climbed. It’s the most important story, I would say, in Irish history and so it seemed bizarre that we hadn’t looked at it before."

The big question - Why should we be surprised that the horrors of our colonial past should still reverberate today?

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