Written and directed by Kenneth Branagh, Belfast is worthy of all the critical acclaim that it has received. It is a truly remarkable story and one that is shot beautifully that gets you right into the heart of this troublesome time. I would go as far as to say it is some of if not the best work Kenneth Branagh has ever done.
How to Download Belfast (2021)
You can download or stream the film from a digital platform. Click on the Download button at the end of this review and make your choice. Check out also other films by Kenneth Branagh – Death on the Nile (2022), Artemis Fowl (2020), or Thor (2011).
The Movie Review
The plot of the movie is set during the late 60s in a period known as The Troubles in Belfast. The movie has been described as being “semi-autobiographic” in regards to the earlier years of Kenneth Branagh’s life and what it was like growing up when he did. At the heart of this conflict is a Catholic and protestant rivalry and hatred which is still present to this day, unfortunately.
The way the movie unfolds is very clever. We follow the movie through the eyes of 9-year-old Buddy who lives with his mother, brother, and grandparents. His father, “Pa”. Pa is a hardworking family man, but he works in England, trying to make enough money for his family to live on. The cast is incredible young Jude Hill as Buddy is a phenomenal talent and the likes of Jamie Dornan, Caitriona Balfe, Judi Dench, and Ciaran hinds make up this protestant family.
There is a big riot in the streets just outside the family home and they have to bunker down and just try to get through it. The riot is the product of a group of protestants who are trying to drive the Catholics out! Buddy and his family are the only protestant family in this catholic area, but Pa teaches Buddy about religious tolerance.
Things get more complicated when the leader of this “mob” that was the main force behind the riots gets his claws into the family. He warns Pa that if he does not leave the catholic neighborhood, he will be seen as a traitor and an enemy. We basically have the family just trying to survive, but ultimately coming to terms with the fact that this is not a safe place for them to raise their children
While all of The Troubles are going on, at the heart of the story is a young boy who just wants to be happy and grow up. You cannot help but feel for him and the rest of the family too. There is a heartwarming scene where Pa is singing to Ma and it is probably my favorite part of the movie. I also loved the way the family would take trips to the movies together as well.
While this is a movie about hatred at the end of the day. The writing and directing shine a light on things that can also make you smile and deeply care about this family. It is truly amazing stuff and I was captivated from the start all the way until the very end. I am not sure this is the kind of movie that I would watch over and over again, however, it left one heck of a lasting impression on me.
- Every member of the main cast deserves some kind of an award for their performances
- While the story behind this is pretty brutal and hard hitting, the movie also has a ton of heart
- I love the way it is shot
- It has one of the best musical scenes that I have seen in a very long time
- Some of the movie can be hard to watch in contrast with some of the “lighter” elements
- While it was fantastic, it is not a movie that I think I would watch time and time again