Unlike the usual IRA flick, this film explains the places, characters, and events that shaped the Troubles in Northern Ireland. The audience does not need prior knowledge to understand what is happening. Set in Belfast in 1988, the story follows one young Catholic in his gradual passage from street punk to IRA volunteer. The events depicted were described in the memoir of an actual IRA operative, Martin McGartland.
His motives are subtle. His is not the raving need for revenge we see too often, but the desire for the joys of a normal life: wife, kids, job. We learn that membership has its privileges. Martin's slow raise through levels of acceptance gives us a detailed look at the IRA (and insight into similar groups). Crucial to the story is the British system of recruiting touts (informers) with bribes and coercion, and how that system got out of hand.
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Director Kari Skogland
Writer Kari Skogland
Cast Jim Sturgess, Sir Ben Kingsley, Rose McGowan, Kevin Zegers
Natalie Press, William Houston