Opening today exclusively in the Triangle at the Rialto Theater in Raleigh:
BELFAST (Dir. Kenneth Branagh, 2021)
Kenneth Branagh’s 19th film as Director, but only second as writer, is one of his best films.
Set in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1969, the story concerns life in the time of “The Troubles,” a long-running conflict that pitted the Catholics against the Protestants. The riots that result, as well as the reactions of the townspeople are seen through the eyes of Buddy (Jude Hill), a 9-year old who witnesses a violent mob infiltrating his neighborhood in the film’s opening sequence.
Buddy’s Pa (Jamie Dornan), and Ma (Caitríona Balfe), have friction over whether they should relocate, as Pa commutes to England for work and wants his family with him. Ma doesn’t want to leave because she’s emotionally attached to her home since birth. More interesting is Buddy’s grandparents, Granny (Judi Dench), and Pop (Ciarán Hinds). Pop’s love advice to Buddy, harboring a crush on a classmate (Olive Tennant), oozes with wisdom and charm. I wish Dench were given more to do, but her dour appearance fits in authentically with the material.