• Charlie Moat


Updated: Mar 28

Highly tipped for this years Best Picture award at the Oscars, Belfast doesn't quite hit the mark.

Kenneth Branagh's "most personal film" has already grossed over $42 million worldwide. Written and directed by the Belfast born filmmaker, the black and white hit follows 9 year old Buddy (Jude Hill) navigating his way through the Belfast Troubles. Part of a protestant working class family, he witnesses the hardship of the riots and protests first hand, as well as the hardships at home. Jamie Dornan stars as "Pa" and Caitriona Balfe shines as "Ma", Buddy's loving yet often feuding parents.

Despite the highly sensitive and thought provoking topics, the film fails to invoke the true emotions you might expect to feel. It's evident Branagh wanted to portray the events in a more nostalgic view, cleverly achieved by showing them through the eyes of an innocent child, however this results in a missed opportunity to really educate about the true grittiness of the troubles.

There are a lot of strong points in the film, not least the acting, in particular from Jamie Dornan and young Jude Hill in his cinema debut. Dornan portrayed a worn out, hard-working family man in a way many will find relatable whilst Hill put on a stunning display as the naive, trouble causing youngster. Judi Dench and Ciaran Hinds were both flawless as Buddy's grandparents. Their displays really contributed to one beautiful image of a family that is together. When not much else is available to the family, the importance of having each other is really highlighted.

Much of the film's success can also be attributed to the hard-hitting score composed by the native Belfast artist Van Morrison, a detour from Branagh's usual choice of Peter Doyle. With a mixture of old and new tracks, Van Morrison did a near perfect job of writing the score in a way that linked effortlessly to the cinematography.

Although there were some points where real emotion can be felt thanks to some great acting and writing, Belfast wasn't quite what I expected and was unfulfilling in a sense of failing to highlight all the key issues surrounding the conflict between the Catholics and Protestants. A lack of action and big talking points made it difficult for the film to really stick in the viewers mind.

Square Eyes Rating: 6/10. A great story and some beautiful cinematography but lacked any compelling plots.

Star of the Show: Jude Hill. The young newcomer was brilliant in delivering Branagh's story, and its no surprise to see him landing major film roles for some upcoming releases.

About Me

Hi, I'm Charlie! I'm a recent Law graduate with a massive love of films and TV. Throughout this blog you'll find reviews of the latest film and TV releases as well as some classics.

I hope you enjoy the reads, and feel free to use the contact page for any feedback, or releases you'd love to hear me review!

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