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  • Writer's pictureSteve

Dead Shot (2023)

Terrorism in Ireland in the 1970s had a face. It was male, unshaven, sweaty and unkempt. At least this is the cinematic version we are most often presented with. Additionally, these characters were furiously angry, as if the British armed forces shooting innocent pregnant women in cars on the way to give birth didn't make them apoplectic enough.

The cinematography, set and costume design, like the tone, is dour and authentic, concentrating much of its runtime on the streets of seventies London. Whilst the narratives are far from adventurous the ambitions to portray them are lofty. The performances vary in quality. Mark Strong is great, of course, but underused.

Colin Morgan doesn't really have much of an opportunity to display much of anything aside from quietly seething and the one weak link here if we're honest is Aml Ameen as Tempest, who I personally found both jarring and difficult to believe in. Felicity Jones is so much periphery as to be practically unremarkable, however good or bad she was, but she too was not playing up to scratch.

Overall, there is plenty here to be admired cinematically, but it's likely to still leave a bitter aftertaste for some, purely for the reasons on which of the fence the project sits politically, how that opinion is represented and if it is indeed anyway partisan and/or biased.

Kenneth Branagh would be turning in his grave, if he was already dead and buried, that is. This is so far removed from his latest masterpiece of the same place and time as to be alarmingly stark. Different social strata, some might say.


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