Black '47 Reviews

Page 1 of 2
February 19, 2019
Black '47 (2018) #MovieReview 3,0 ‚≠?Ôł? Durante grande crise de fome e pobreza, soldado irland√™s retorna ao lar pobre e encontra fam√≠lia morta e resolve se vingar. Ex-soldado ingl√™s √ (C) intimado a ca√ß√°-lo . Irish Western.
February 13, 2019
Not really the Famine film we were promised, but still a decent thriller

Easily the most anticipated Irish film of the last decade or so, Black '47 is advertised as the "first film about the Great Famine". And were this true, it would undoubtedly occupy a canonical place in Irish artistic output. However, it isn't the first film about the Famine. It's the first film set during the Famine, but it isn't about the Famine. This is a genre film, a revenge western set against the backdrop of the Famine. The Famine is not the film's central theme, nor does it attempt to engage with it on a national scale. And if you accept that, there's actually quite a lot here to admire.

Black '47 has no intentions of dealing with the Famine on a national scale, but using the Famine as a backdrop for a genre exercise is a wise choice - it allows limited engagement by way of a plot-driven story, without setting up massive expectations and unconquerable thematic hurdles. No Famine narrative could ever depict a protagonist righting all the wrongs, because no such person existed. However, the contained story of Fenney's (James Frecheville) revenge is more than aware of that. He is never painted as someone out to liberate the country, spurred on by the wrongs done to him personally. He wants revenge on the people who wronged him; he has no aspirations of saving Ireland.

In terms of how the film represents the Famine, apart from its importance to the plot, co-screenwriter/director Lance Daly uses a number of "quintessential Famine images". These include one of the first shots in the film, which shows a skull sinking into the wet mud, representing the dead and their connection to the land (a little on the nose, but it does the job); when Ellie (Sarah Greene) first appears, she looks like Caitlin Ni Uallachain, the implication being that Ireland itself is literally dying; when she and her children are evicted, the scene is very much an archetype of such evictions; a Catholic priest warning the starving peasants not to "take the soup"; peasants taking the soup; grain being stockpiled for export to England; bedraggled peasants huddled at the gates of an affluent estate; multiple references to emigration. In point of fact, although the Famine is essentially just background, Daly works hard to make sure the viewer never forgets what's happening beyond the edges of the frame, by occasionally allowing it within the frame.

Perhaps the most long-lasting effect of the Famine is that it decimated the Irish language. The Famine is why this review is in English, and why I can speak only a few sentences in my native tongue. In seven years, the Famine did what the English couldn't manage in 700 - it destroyed that which defined us as a people, our very national identity. However, not only are large sections of Black '47 in Irish, the film actually uses the Irish language as an important recurring motif. For example, Fenney speaks both English and Irish, but he makes a conscious decision to only speak Irish, even when talking to non-Irish speakers. The film also shows a judge erupting in anger as peasants in his courtroom, unable to speak English, begin to converse in Irish, whilst Lord Kilmichael refers to Gaeilge as "that aboriginal gibberish". However, the most important scene concerning the Irish language is in the Protestant soup kitchen - when the priest asks a peasant his name, the man replies "Seamus O Suilleabhain". The priest turns to a translator, who responds, "James Sullivan". This speaks to the Anglicisation of Irish place names by the British, itself an attempt to destroy the language and undermine our sense of place. Daly never allows the devastating effect the Famine had on the language to fade into the background, and the narrative is all the better for it.

Of course, all of this is not to say the film is perfect. Composer Brian Byrne's score is overly didactic. Additionally, the character of Kilmichael is something of a cliched, token villain. Daly also has a slight tendency to unsuccessfully mix naturalism with stylisation, perhaps most obvious in the use of intentionally artificial looking matte paintings as backgrounds. Whilst the intention behind this was most likely to try to evoke the look of old sepia photographs, contemporary audiences used to photorealistic CGI will probably interpret it as cheap effects work.

However, all things considered, this is a strong and reasonably important piece of filmmaking. Yes, it's essentially just a revenge western, and there are a hundred films along these lines, several of them better than Black '47. However, Daly allows the Famine to come to the fore sufficiently so that we never forget when and where we are. Mixing the historical with the generic just enough so that each informs the other without either becoming (too) diluted, it's not the first "Famine film", but it is a very decent, honest, and respectful attempt to put something of that great tragedy on screen.
December 24, 2018
Well made independant film. Good story of revenge, lots of action and very violent. Would recommend a viewing.
½ December 17, 2018
Yes life was hard back then, but I don't feel the film portrayed it., more so one man's revenge get back at everyone and in the end with the aid of his old Afghanistan war buddy......just didn't do it for me I'm afraid.
½ December 13, 2018
Such a simple tale of patriotic revenge, the story could have just as easily been told with minimal dialogue. I imagine the writers feel like they fell a little short on the depth of the story, as it could have been made grittier by focusing on the physical acting and cinematography and not dialogue.
November 23, 2018
Excellent movie on difficult period. The drama & reLism of the the time , well protrayed
November 4, 2018
2018 was the year of the great housing famine in Ireland, post offices were closing down all across the country, hospitals wouldn't offer you a bed unless you sold your soul to a politician, and rural graduates were immigrating in unquantifiable figures to the three greatest cities of the world at the time; New York, Sydney, & Cork.

Initially people blamed the famine on greedy landlords for putting their houses on AirBnB but it was soon discovered that the government were hoarding houses and selling them abroad despite their own people dying on the streets.

Black 47, probably the most RIC complimentary film of the year, set to the backdrop of the Irish Potato Famines of 1845 and 1849 has a very similar feel to it. It's not exactly a history movie. I think Tara Brady of the Irish Times puts it best when she says it's not spaghetti western, it's a potato western, which is a good indication of what to expect from this movie.

The story line is set around one man and his psychopath sidekick who travel through the west of Ireland without a word of Gaelic, to be honest there are parts of Connaught I wouldn't go to now without brushing up on my cupla focail, not to mind going there in the 19th century sounding like a contestant from the great British bake off as the whole country was starving to death.

The English gentleman and his soldier hound are searching for an Irish Ranger who's deserted the army. The ranger equipped with his Rambo knife and gritty stares is causing havoc in lawless towns, galloping around on Shergar Fado Fado through beautiful sweeping landscapes and low budget CGI.

The movie let's itself down by focusing too much on the potato western gun slinging shootouts and omits to connect to the audience on an emotional level. For me it's not dark enough to earn the title "Black" as there is a lack of poignant scenes that leave you spellbound.

Perhaps Irish people of the time didn't cry, I have a 2nd cousin who still thinks hugging other men is gay so maybe it's true to the time, but I'd bet my last bitcoin that there were more tears shed in 1847 than this movie depicts, after all one million people died of starvation....that's not a joke, let that sink in for a while, then think about another one million people who were forced to immigrate on coffin ships, then think about hugging your cousin next time you see him Ray.

The script is the movies saving point, well written, surprisingly funny in parts and the accents have a deep Irish authenticity without coming across as half witted youtube mock-ups. The film honours Irish culture and makes an approachable effort to visit the history and the tragedy of the famine. In that sense it's a worthwhile watch, but from a standalone point of view it's not going to stack up with other releases this year or other great Irish movies with an historical setting.
October 23, 2018
Amazing, on every level
October 23, 2018
ketika pengorbanan bela negara dimedan perang lalu sepulangnya ternyata negara menghianati pengorbannya dengan korup bagi rakyatnya. Feeney say keluarga saya mati, kalau bukan saya yang mengadili lalu siapa lagi. ceritanya asik, dengan karakternya yang kuat mana ga banyak omong. dah gitu aja
½ October 19, 2018
Two hours of my life I'll never get back again. I was so disappointed in this film, I thought it would be interesting to see the famine portrayed on screen, but the plot is meandering and it is merely a backdrop to the gore. The maniacal turn of the main character isn't justified and seems out of place, Stephen Rea's character was pointless and most of the film was shots of riding (and not the 50 shades kind) with minimal dialogue. Don't put yourself through it.
October 17, 2018
Great movie, especially if your student of History. Highly recommended!
½ October 13, 2018
Well done somewhat unique story with excellent acting by the main stars .
½ October 10, 2018
Bland film, adventure film set during the famine period. Story was poorly written with knowledge of what was coming 1.5/5
½ October 9, 2018
Entertaining. Mash up of eastwood westerns set in famine era Ireland.
October 7, 2018
The truth of what happened to Ireland's people at the hands of the English. This was genocide.
October 4, 2018
It's a piece alright. Given the Loach would be the anchor point after Barley ( albeit a different context ) , this doesn't pull any punches. It's definitely a great source material for school curriculum, considering how close colonialism was to the BRITISH shores.

A must see for 3 rather impressive performances.
October 4, 2018
Beautifully shot period piece that reflects the horrors of the Famine with spaghetti western entertainment. Very good.
October 3, 2018
Solid movie with solid performances by all involved
October 2, 2018
One of the best movies I've seen of the year.
½ September 30, 2018
"Black '47" seems a bit like a missed opportunity. I liked the setting, the historic period, the acting, but the story is basically the same old revenge story. It lacks depth.
Page 1 of 2