Black ‘47 (2018)

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Lance Daly directs Hugo Weaving, James Frecheville and Stephen Rea in this period revenge actioner where a disgraced cop and an imperialist officer hunt down a deserter who is bringing bloody justice to those profiteering during the Irish Famine.  

A cracking little movie that leans into its period backdrop with purpose. Both a whistle stop tour of the horrors and politics of the famine, a beautiful if dour recreation of an apocalyptic Ireland (some frames are self consciously painterly, beautiful for it) and a satisfying dispossessed Western. A muscular Frecheville impresses with a Bourne-like lead role; a begrudging angel of vengeance, on the run from his pursuers and past, breaking down a conspiracy, breaking out of tight spots with convincing violence and inspired skill. Yet it is Weaving’s movie. His world weary, disgraced cop is a dangerous enigma. Disgusted by his work and having to drag along an authorative youth as his ranking superior. There’s lots of good acting here (Daly has assembled a perfect cast) but Freddie Fox holds his own as that kid in a redcoat utterly convinced of his manifest destiny over the natives struggling to survive. The musket shootouts are intense, the grim imagery well played and the lessons learnt by the end may be simple but bear repeating. Well worth a watch.

7

 

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