TV film review: Bloody Sunday (2002), written and directed by Paul Greengrass
When I saw this film was going to be on, I just thought it would be a film about The Troubles in Northern Ireland. I had no idea it was done as a fly-on-the-wall documentary – but that just makes it interesting.
“Bloody Sunday” happened in Derry on 30 January 1972. It was meant to be a peaceful civil rights demonstration, and for most of it, it was. The film follows Ivan Cooper (James Nesbitt), a politician and Member of the Parliament of Northern Ireland. He wants a peaceful demonstration and makes damned well sure everyone’s on board with this. There is liaising with the military. Everything is meant to go smoothly.
But because everyone’s paranoid and there are people out there who want to make trouble, the demonstration ends in a bloodbath, when the British Army opened fire on the demonstrators, killing 13 people.
Also starring Simon Mann as Colonel Derek Wilford, Tim Pigott-Smith as Major General Ford, Nicholas Farrell as Brigadier Maclellan, Allan Gildea as Kevin McCorry, Gerard Crossan as Eamonn McCann, Mary Moulds as Bernadette Devlin, Carmel McCallion as Bridget Bond, and David Clayton Rogers as Dennis.
As it’s a fly-on-the-wall documentary, there’s no “plot” as such, it’s just following a politician trying to prepare a demonstration in a political powderkeg of an area. It’s not a question of if it will blow it, it’s when, and whose fault it’s going to be.
To begin with, I didn’t really like the documentary style and found it a little boring, but as the story developed, it became engrossing – leading up to shocking and completely fucking devastating. It’s not an easy film to watch, but as a history lesson, seeing the events of the day played out like this will always be more engaging than just reading about how many people died and why. Especially when you have great actors like Nesbitt to play the parts.
4.5 out of 5 checkpoints.