IFTA Best Film 2019 | Black ‘47

Image Credit: Alexas_Fotos

Directed by Lance Daly

Black ‘47 centres around the worst year of the Great Irish Famine, 1847. It focuses on the two main characters Feeny (James Frenchville) and Hannah (Hugo Weaving). Feeny is an army deserter and returns to Ireland to find the devastation of the famine. Hannah has become a disgraced detective for killing an uncooperative suspect. He is told he can go to prison, or help Captain Pope hunt down Feeny for the killing of constabulary officers.

Frenchville, Weaving, and Barry Keoghan all portray flawed heroes we want to see persevere. Broadbent and Fox embodied the anti-Irish sentiment that was held at the time, and are the epitome of the villains of the time that contributed to the suffering of the Irish people.

The film is beautifully shot, gritty and grey in a way that suits the general tone of the film, and for the most part, it's historically accurate. While the main revenge plot line didn't actually happen, events shown throughout the film like the people being evicted from their homes, the cruelty from landlords and the Irish constabulary, and the poor being starved to death did. The way the story and history of the famine is told makes the film so much more heart wrenching, the deaths and devastation it depicts are no longer statistics, it breathes new life into the tragic event. This will be of no surprise to the Irish audiences watching, as we’re already painfully aware of the events that transpired, but the film brought to life such a devastating period in Irish history.

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