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BLOODY SUNDAY - A masterpiece! (1 Viewer)

Mark H

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Mark Hyland
Being Irish, and Catholic, this movie's subject matter is very close to my heart. It was originally shown nearly 2 years on British TV, which meant that it could not be nominated for Oscar success.
This movie is, in a word. STUNNING. This is a movie which is frighteningly realistic (actual ex-paratroopers used, and some of the marchers who were actually there in '72). I have nothing but high praise for the DVD that Paramount has recently issued. Two excellent commentary tracks and a couple of featurettes make this a must buy. I highly recommend people check this movie out. One very intense emotional rollercoaster ride for me - I am happy that Paramount have lavished this movie with an excellent transfer, audio and extras.
Cheers,
Markie Boy
 

Kirk Tsai

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Nov 1, 2000
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Stunning is right. When I saw it in the theater, my stomach was aching by the end of the film. The buildup and tension, brutality and burearacrucy, personal and political all form a fiercely angering and viscerally moving picture.
 

Maurice McCone

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Nov 22, 2001
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ho hum....

just remember that this is just one , biased view of this day :angry:

The film largely ignores the testimony of the actual paratroopers, and ignores reports that the IRA shot first and were active that day.

Still, obviously there are plenty of people watching this political tract and buying every word of it :frowning:

rather like the Taliban reporting on the fall of Kabul :thumbsdown:
 

Jason_Els

Screenwriter
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Feb 22, 2001
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I'm sure most of us with an interest in the Troubles are well aware of a great number of differing accounts not just of Bloody Sunday but a whole host of different events.

This thread will be closed very quickly if remarks about politics exceed the scope of the movie. If you point out differences in the film from those of historical sources then please do so in a neutral manner and without rancor. Look at the Bowling for Columbine thread for examples of what to (and not to) do.

Not pointing any fingers here but I'd like to be sure this thread doesn't get whacked from the get go. :D

I have yet to see the film but can't wait to rent it. I'm very curious about how it portrays various events.
 

andrew markworthy

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The movie presents one point of view, and it's reasonably fair. However, it's not entirely correct - the Brits were not quite as evil or incompetent as the movie presents, but nor were they angels. And it is only one incident in a long and vexed history of the 'Irish Problem'. The Brits (or more accurately, the Brit upper classes and government) do not come out of this well. However, nor in many cases do the actions of those supporting the Republican cause.

In the case of this movie, and with the greatest of respect to non-Brits, I think before anyone waxes lyrical about the injustice of Bloody Sunday, you should take a protracted look at the immediate pre-history of the subject. The bombings and murders by the IRA, the sectarian violence in general, all had a profound effect on the Brit psyche, and place the events in a far more complex scenario.
 

Mark_TS

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Mar 23, 2000
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I still have a pictorial book, THE BATTLE OF BOGSIDE, which graphically depicts a similar atmosphere and incidents from a few years later in Derry...(?)
 

Mark H

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Mark Hyland
My initial reason for this thread was high praise for this "movie" - which is what it is. Maurice - you seem to have misread my meaning for "realism". Listen to the commentaries and you will see/understand what I mean. The last thing I want from this post is political debate. This movie portrays a moment in history that until recently was shockingly close to the bone. A brutal act is a brutal act - regardless of what side commits it. The IRA have also been responsible for mindless acts of violence and murder, of which there is no excuse.
However, back to the reason for this thread. For an emotional ride no movie in my mind comes close this year. I put this movie up there with Breaking the Waves, Dancer in the Dark and Schindler's List in terms of emotional impact.
Markie Boy
 

Maurice McCone

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Mark, whilst I know that it was not your intention, praise for this films 'realism' is offensive to a certain group of people who lived through the actual reality of the Troubles.

The realism you refer to is ONE persons (the writers) reality...

Discussing the film rather than the politics (difficult), I find such one sided films rather like political part braodcasts, by leaving out the 'other' side, they lose credibility.

The story of the Troubles in Northern Ireland has largely been told thru the eyes of Southern Irish filmmakers ie Nmae of the Father, Bloody Sunday, Some Mothers Son; they are very slanted in thier subject matter - why are there no films about republican atrocities or the actions of the poilice in fighting terrorists ?
One fact, the security for the film crew whilst filming Bloody Sunday was provided by a firm owned by the brother of Martin McGuiness (deputy head of IRA ) - so no bias there eh ?

So before people soak up this propaganda, and unfortunatley this stuff is largely made to impress more naive audiences; I would hope that 9/11 have opened some peoples eyes to the evils of terrorism (the IRA started te shooting on Blooddy Sunday and used civilians as cover much like the Iraqis in Bhagdad).
 

Gabe Oppenheim

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Maurice-

(the IRA started te shooting on Blooddy Sunday and used civilians as cover much like the Iraqis in Bhagdad
Such statements betray a similarly biased point of view on your part, and hopefully even you would acknowledge that no one should "[buy] every word of it"--there are conflicts of opinion about what happened, and your opinion is no more factual than the one presented in Bloody Sunday. Not to mention which, this film might present a closer analogue to the situations in Iraq during which civilian protesters were fired upon by coalition troops than the ones where civilians (may or may not have) been used as human shields.

It seems to me that this sort of movie provides a recompense, of sorts, for the official story of Bloody Sunday, the one where British troops did nothing wrong. Perhaps it is indicative of my anti-authoritarian streak, but I tend not to blindly trust the official takes on most events (I don't believe, for example, the bulk of the Warren Commission's findings about JFK's assassination, though most of the crackpot conspiracy theories about the same seem unlikely at best). In the case of the Bloody Sunday incident, the British government's findings seemed to be particularly egregious (which, of course, is why the Saville inquiry is currently taking place) and a movie offering an alternative view (both this one as well as Jimmy McGovern's apparently even-more-critical-of-the-British t.v. film)

None of this is to say, for example, that there was no IRA activity that day (the movie shows some and allows for the suggestion of more). I think an intelligent viewer can accept the movie's depiction of events but still realize that other things were going on at the same time. Many of the people killed, however, seem to have been killed in manners that should have prompted some sort of censure by the government--this, notwithstanding any events either on the day or in its recent past--and I don't think that anyone trying to maintain any sort of objectivity about the incidents would disagree about this. I agree with Andrew about learning about the context, but still, context does not excuse all of the actions of Bloody Sunday, it just serves as further explanation of why things may have happened as they did (why the soldiers may have been wound up and looking for a fight, etc.).

My opinion about the movie has already been given in another thread, so I will not elaborate on that any further here. I simply wish here to defend, to a degree at least, this movie from your attack/negativity that might be perceived as thread farting.

By the way, for a movie that shows the Republicans in a negative light, you could do worse than to try Irishman Neil Jordan's The Crying Game, in which some of the IRA members are (at best) deeply flawed. The movie is not focused on the troubles, but it's something, at least.
 

Dave Mack

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Dudes, Honestly and with all due respect to everyone who has posted,
As someone who is 1/2 English, 1/2 Irish, Protestant mom and Catholic dad and has relatives in England and Ireland, this Home Theater Forum is really NOT the place for this kind of a discussion.

Peace, Dave MacAaron
 

Edwin-S

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Where you personally witness to these events, or are you relating testimony from a group of soldiers that had plenty of reasons to put their actions in a more sympathetic light? If you were there and saw events such as you describe occur, then your statement is valid. If you were not there, your statement has no more validity than the movie's depiction of events, which you are roundly criticizing as "Republican" propaganda. You are approaching events from a biased perspective.....much as the filmmakers have.

I have not read anything from the filmmakerswhere they claim that their depiction of events is the absolute truth of the matter. It is clear that the filmmakers are biased toward the Irish version of events; however, I do not believe that any claims were made stating that their movie was going to be an unbiased view of events. There is no law in filmmaking that requires a creator to tell a "balanced" story. For the dramatic purposes of this film, the makers have decided that the Irish side of the case, rightly or wrongly, is the stronger one.
 

Mark H

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Gabe - Well put!
Dave - Couldn't agree with you more!

As I've already said, my point for this thread was to talk about an emotional movie, and how its attempt at realism was better than most. A movie is a work of fiction - this particular film recalls how history remembers a Civil Rights Movement (led by a Protestant) which effectively ceased on this day, as innocent people were murdered on the streets of Derry. As Gabe said, the movie does depict IRA activity on that day, and the movie never shows who fired the first shots. If this was to be a biased movie filmed by a mostly British crew, I think we would've seen blatant footage of Paras opening fire first. We don't. This movie is a retelling of how history and the people of Derry remember it - history does have a habit of being wrong. I am upset that both this thread and Gabe's have become argumentative instead of focussing on why we're here - to talk about movies. Forgive my preach guys, and once again Maurice I must make a point of apologizing if offence is taken - I am so anti-IRA you wouldnt believe it! I do not like to argue with fellow HTF members.
Cheers,
Markie Boy
 

Edwin-S

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If you thought that a discussion of this movie was going to be limited to "oohs and ahs" about the emotionalism in this movie then, I'm sorry, you were mistaken. Like I said earlier, this movie is innately political. It recalls events that were controversial then and are no less controversial now. This film was bound to generate strong reactions from people, and those reactions are going to lead to discussion.....both positive and negative. It is the nature of the beast. If the type of discussion being generated is a cause for annoyance, perhaps a thread on this subject should not have been opened.

Your statement about this movie being a work of fiction, is a correct one; that is why the "realism" of this film was a big mistake. This movie is shot so realistically that it takes on the weight of a documentary, rather than a work of fiction. I think the "realism" of this film is responsible for the generation of such strong reactions to it. A lot of people will watch this film and will believe that it is a totally truthful recounting of events, because of the documentary nature of the cinematography.
 

Mark H

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Mark Hyland
I guess I simply should have said "I liked this movie a lot" in the subject line and left it at that :)
Markie Boy
 

Gabe Oppenheim

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Sep 12, 2001
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Edwin-

. . .that is why the "realism" of this film was a big mistake.
Now, we're talking about the relative qualities of the film! I wonder how you might support that statement; I feel that the "realism" of the film is one of the things that makes it such a great movie, and it is clearly the style of the film that inspires such strong feelings for and against it.

However, I would take exception to your saying that the verite style is a "mistake." The film is a work of fiction, yes, but it is one based on fact (or, to be fair, on some fact and some conjecture)--the same goes for a myriad of other films, including some that adopt a similar verite style, like Z or Black Hawk Down. The former does not depict exactly an actual event, but the latter certainly does, and, in both cases, though particularly with Z, the facts were changed to increase the sense of drama.

In what situation, then, is it "acceptable" for filmmakers to employ a verite style? If they are forwarding a political agenda based on historical events, as the makers of all three films here certainly are, does their agenda make it unacceptable, or dangerous, for them to do so? Or is it only acceptable if historical events are used as a backdrop to the main action of the film, as they were in, say, Saving Private Ryan?

I don't think that we necessarily disagree here; we both, I think, feel that Bloody Sunday, leaving aside for the moment its veracity, is an effective film, but I do wonder where the line for documentary style might be drawn. I feel personally that intelligent filmgoers should be able to distinguish between a docudrama like this and an actual documentary (I don't even want to get into the whole question of the veracity of actual documentaries--cough, Michael Moore). When this style is employed, however, it adds both a sense of "realism" and, more importantly, a sense of immediacy to the proceedings which allow for a more effective film.

Do you feel that Bloody Sunday, given the same biases it has now but shot in a more conventional manner, would be more effective, or less egregious to certain viewers?
 

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