The Journey (2017)
Firebrand Democratic Unionist Party leader Ian Paisley and Sinn Fein politician Martin McGuinness, two implacable enemies in Northern Ireland, are forced to take a short journey together in which they will take the biggest leap of faith and change the course of history.
Highly Overrated But Still Good
Fun premise, good actors, bad writing. This film seemed to have potential at the beginning but it quickly devolves into a trite action film. Ultimately it's very boring.
what a terribly boring film. I'm sorry but this is absolutely not deserving of best picture and will be forgotten quickly. Entertaining and engaging cinema? No. Nothing performances with flat faces and mistaking silence for subtlety.
This film is so real. It treats its characters with so much care and sensitivity.
"The Journey" offers a highly speculative version of the conversation that put an end to the conflict in Northern Ireland that has come to be known as the Troubles.Actors Timothy Spall and Colm Meany both portray their roles powerfully. Their verbal sparring and give-and-take maneuverings make for a compelling performance.
I worked in broadcast during this historical time in Northern Ireland and knew both of these men. The acting and accents, mannerisms are absolutely as spot on as it can possibly get. Colm Meaney pulls off the Derry accent very well for a Dublin man and Spall gets all the inflections of big Ian's Belfast brogue. I think both of those men would perhaps enjoy the job the filmmakers made of them: "So they would"! Definitely a movie well presented and well researched. Worth watching: So it is!
Greetings again from the darkness. Only the rarest of fiction can match the depth and intensity of historically crucial watershed moments. A list of such moments would certainly include the 2006 St. Andrews Agreement that ended 40 years of violent civil war between the Unionist and Republican factions of Northern Ireland. Director Nick Hamm and writer Colin Bateman team up to bring us a speculative dramatization of the conversation that 'might' have led to the treaty.Timothy Spall plays Reverend Ian Paisley, leader of the Unionists and an anti-Catholic evangelical minister. Colm Meaney plays Martin McGuinness, the rebellious former IRA leader ("allegedly", he clarifies) who leads the Irish Republicans (Sinn Fein). These two extremists have been at war for most of their lives, yet had never met until circumstances brought them together for negotiations.One's take on the film will likely be determined by the level of need for historical accuracy and any personal connection to long-lasting war in Northern Ireland. Either of these traits will likely have you scoffing at the backseat verbal sparring and the plot contrivances that allow the two mortal enemies to slowly break down the ideological barriers. On the other hand, it can be viewed as a mis-matched buddy movie featuring a game of witty one-upmanship with political and historical relevance.Either way, the dueling actors are a pleasure to watch. Mr. Spall surely has the more theatrical role, and he revels in the buttoned-up judgmental nature of Paisley – a man loyal enough to be attending his 50th wedding anniversary party, and sufficiently devoted to his beliefs that his last visit to a movie theatre was in 1973 as he led the protests against The Exorcist. In contrast, Mr. Meaney plays McGuinness as both determined to find common ground and worn down by the years of fighting and lack of progress.Toby Stephens plays Prime Minister Tony Blair, while Freddie Highmore is the young driver charged with surreptitiously igniting conversation between the two rivals. He is fed instructions through his ear-piece by an MI5 director played by John Hurt, in one of his final film appearances. Unfortunately, this bit of "narration" came across as condescending to this viewer who surely could have done without such elementary guidance. Still, the sight of Mr. Hurt on film is always welcome.The infusion of humor is nearly non-stop. There's a comical exchange about Samuel L. Jackson, a joke about the Titanic, and a Paisley diatribe at a gas station over a declined credit card that would easily fit in most any Hollywood buddy flick. However, these elements undermine one of the early on screen interviews we see when a citizen states bombs going off as you walk down the street is "part of life". "You can almost taste the hatred" is a great line, but unfortunately doesn't match the script of what we witness on screen. The two men re-hash some key events such as 1972's Bloody Sunday, and it's these moments that remind us just how important this new agreement was to the country. It's understandable (and relevant today) how 40 years of hate can become a way of life and difficult to end, and it also shows us just how far actual communication can go in finding common ground between folks even The Chuckles Brothers.
This is a remarkably well written film. That it is fictionalised, based on real events and real people, is a testament to the skill of not only the writing but all the performances and direction. Both leads, Colm Meaney and Timothy Spall, as McGuiness and Paisley respectively, are particularly excellent and both subtly understated and at the same time the very heartbeat of the film. Toby Stephens captures Blair's flippancy, mannerisms and that loathsome, grinny "Blairite" smile to a tee! Given the subject matter, the Northern Ireland peace talks of 2006, this is one of the funniest scripts of the year. Although the specific conversations on the "Journey" of the title may be imagined, one is left with a feeling that there is some truth or sense of inevitability as to what their conversations with each other must have covered. Less than 24 hours after seeing it, I'm already awaiting the theatrical release so I can take anyone who loves good film making with me!