Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Brothers in "The Wind that Shakes the Barley"

What I enjoy about movies like "The Wind that Shakes the Barley" is that it takes an issue as intense as war, a matter that is so far removed from most people that the idea of such a struggle does not make much of an impact, and makes it so vivid that one cannot ignore it.  Like other war films, it does this by showing us first hand the people fighting and the gruesome way in which they are treated.  And though I am usually upset by them, as I was in the case of this film, I find they help affect emotions that sometimes text alone cannot evoke.

But enough rambling about films in general.  I thought "The Wind that Shakes the Barley" did a great job of introducing us to the Irish War of Independence through the relationship between the two brothers; what was particularly successful in my mind was how radically different the brothers' views were from one another and, at the same time, how similar the two could be.  For example, both are extremely dedicated to their cause; just as Damien unwillingly kills the young soldier for betraying them, so too is Teddy so firm in his beliefs that he executes his own brother despite the fact that he does not want to.  In both of these situations, both deny a request from another so that they do not have to do the act themselves and both receive the same general reaction when delivering their victims letters (both the young boy's mother and Damien's wife state they never want to see the person delivering the letters again).  So the relationship as a metaphor for the entire country of Ireland is very strong and successful for creating emotion in the viewer.

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