A fictionalised account of real events, this drama is reminiscent of Peter Morgan's work in The Queen or Frost/Nixon. Even though screenwriter Colin Bateman (Murphy's Law) aims more for entertainment value than pointed character drama, the film is solidly gripping, drawing plenty of brittle humour and complex emotion out of the story.
It's set in 2006, as peace talks about Ireland are taking place in St. Andrews. Prime Minister Tony Blair (Toby Stephens) is trying to orchestrate a meeting between mortal enemies Ian Paisley (Timothy Spall) and Martin McGuinness (Colm Meaney). But there's a hitch when Ian needs to return to Belfast for his 59th wedding anniversary party. In a surprise move, Martin insists on accompanying Ian, citing protocol as a reason. Seeing his chance, MI5 expert Harry (John Hurt) puts a plan in motion for them to travel to Edinburgh together to catch the flight, planting a cheerful young spy (Freddie Highmore) as their driver. The question is whether he can manipulate their journey and cause them to start talking.
As the ice between these stubborn men begins to thaw, the script contrives to push them together with things like a petrol stop, a flat tyre, an injured deer on the roadside and a time-wasting detour through the woods that's intended to break their silence. The two actors have a great time maintaining their bluster through all of this. Spall gives Paisley an imperious attitude that has cleverly wry undercurrents. His rant at a shop clerk about a declined credit card is delivered with biblical proportions. And Meaney has some heart-stopping moments of his own. Both actors clearly relish the snaky, engaging dialogue as they quietly reveal the real men beneath the tough public personae. By contrast, Highmore seems eerily charisma-free as their driver, but there's more fun to be had from Hurt, Stephens and others as hapless officials watching on hidden cameras.
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Adam has been estranged from his whole family for several years, ever since their farm was wrecked by Foot & Mouth disease in 2001. Since then he has never stayed in one place for very long, preferring to keep moving around the country - as if constantly yearning for a fresh start. He's had multiple new jobs and various relationships, but now it looks like he can't stay away from home any longer. His younger brother Aiden is about to welcome his first child into the world, and he wants Adam to be there. Understanding that there's a good chance Adam won't show, Aiden warns him that if he doesn't, he never wants to see him again. As much as he misses his family though, returning home will bring up a lot of baggage that Adam isn't sure he's ready for just yet.
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Jimmy Gralton is a political activist in the 1930s with strong communist values. Unfortunately, this doesn't put him in the best light for Ireland's Catholic church, who consider he, his friends and associates to be antichrists. Jimmy runs a dance hall whereby he makes his views heard as the people of his town enjoy music and socialising as well as learning together and creating happy memories. The local priest doesn't see it as such a great thing though and he subsequently does his best to convince his parishioners that the hall brings nothing but evil to the neighbourhood. Those for the continuation of the hall's practises suddenly find themselves violently up against the protesting Catholic community, and two things that were always supposed to be about peace and civic spirit suddenly become armies who'll stop at nothing to defend their values.
'Jimmy's Hall' is a shocking Irish drama based on a true story during the 'Red Scare' in Ireland in the 1930s. BAFTA nominated director Ken Loach ('Sweet Sixteen', 'My Name Is Joe', 'The Navigators') is at the helm alongside screenwriter Paul Laverty ('The Wind That Shakes the Barley', 'The Angels' Share', 'Cargo'). It is scheduled to be released in the UK on May 30th 2014.
A fictionalised account of real events, this drama is reminiscent of Peter Morgan's work in...
Adam has been estranged from his whole family for several years, ever since their farm...
Jimmy Gralton is a political activist in the 1930s with strong communist values. Unfortunately, this...