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  • Writer's pictureSteve

Belfast (2021)

Kenneth Branagh is just showing off his address book now. That'll be it. Seriously though, you watch hundreds of films in a year that are then eclipsed by something head and shoulders above them. Sure you get a couple in that time that make you sit up and take notice, but there can be no doubt that true quality filmmaking continues to be a in a very small, elite group of its own. Sometimes we are lucky enough to know what we're going to get even before it arrives.

And maybe because this is so close to my era (I would have been a year old) and the grip on the reality of Belfast that I remember when growing up that Branagh shows us here, may have some bearing on the warm feelings I naturally have for the film.

Add to this the phenomenal script, the incredible acting, the exemplary attention to the time and place and the complete ordinariness of the story of Buddy and his family.

Avoiding politics and religion like the plague, Branagh focuses on the simple wondrous things of life; love, family, childhood, growing up, loss - all done with careful, delicate attention, albeit with unavoidable nods to the 'troubles' between the Catholics and Protestants at the time.

The monochrome style is not so unusual as to be off-putting, but still something of a curiosity. When pressed Branagh stated that he sometimes feels that colour is too distracting and that in order to 'get into people', sometimes black and white allows that access a little more freely.

The whole cast are brilliant and I cannot remember the last time I really enjoyed every frame of a movie. Certainly not in the last twelve months. When the Golden Globe results were announced, I was a bit surprised, but this was before today and now I can see exactly why Branagh et al are getting all of the plaudits coming their way.

They deserve every last one of them.


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