GFF 2011: Route Irish
In Route Irish, an ambush on the road of the same name, connecting Baghdad airport with the Green Zone, puts a licensed mercenary in a body-bag and leaves many unanswered questions. “He was a protector, a force for good”, eulogises the firm’s director, but ex-soldier Fergus (Mark Womack) has reason to doubt the rosy portrait painted of private military contractors, and starts investigating the circumstances surrounding his friend’s death.
The casting of Liverpudlian stand-up John Bishop as the deceased Frankie is smart: he’s not onscreen much, so his limited thesping (previous credits amount to cameos and Skins) isn’t an issue. But the comic’s affable persona amplifies the emotional impact of the character’s death, lending credibility to Fergus’s grief and guilt-driven quest. Not every performance is as successful, Loach’s habit of filling out his cast with unknown faces resulting in some unconvincing scenes. But they don’t detract from the righteous anger of regular collaborator Laverty’s script, which culminates not in bullets and explosions, but quiet despair. [Chris Buckle]
Showing at Glasgow Film Festival 2011http://www.glasgowfilmfestival.org.uk