Went to see it last night in the company of friends, some foreign. Powerful stuff - a two-hour film that doesn't shirk in showing the harsh realities of both the War of Independence
and the Civil War
, in stark contrast to the romantic floss that has hitherto defined the genre (Michael Collins
, etc.). From the savagery of the British forces to the ruthlessness of the Volunteer response, Loach shows a gritty, authentic portrayal of the birth of this State. Accusations of "pro-IRA bias" (made by the British rightwing and tabloid press) are predictable, entirely false and reflect a continuing misty-eyed version of their Empire days in certain British quarters.
For those who haven't grown up in communities with strong local memories of the period - and those who don't 'get' the bitterness that created the enduring Fianna Fáil
dichotomy that defines Irish politics to this day - this is an essential film to see.