"Old Men and Thier Legacies"
A Review of "The Journey" by Nathan H. Box
Director: Nick Hamm, Writer: Colin Bateman, Starring: Timothy Spall, Colm Meaney, John Hurt
Rating: 4 Stars, SHOWTIME!
For my 21st and final film of the 43rd Annual Seattle International Film Festival, I decided to end with a history lesson on a subject for which I know very little; the violence that consumed Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland.
In one corner, we have Democratic Unionist Party leader Ian Paisley, In the other corner, we have Sinn Fein politician Martin McGuinness. "The Journey" serves as a fictional account of two men who are sworn enemies but find themselves taking a short journey together in an unlikely car ride to the airport.
Waging a 40-year old battle, the air in the vehicle is thick with betrayal, stubborn outlooks for peace, and a past drenched with blood and hatred. Little do the two men know, but they are being set up British Prime Minister Tony Blair. He and his team work hard to get the two men out of the negotiating room and together to talk through their differences. To give them enough time, a set of detours and mishaps are planned. Even with the tension between the two leaders, there is humor to be found. Slowly, they begin working through their differences and start putting themselves and their nation on a path to peace.
What the two men can't ignore is the violence perpetuated by both sides. For four decades, religious and political differences needlessly caused bloodshed and countless deaths. Towards the end of the film, both men speak of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nelson Mandela. Both men faced growing violence and those who called for more of it. Instead of succumbing to the violence, King and Mandela preached a new message and protest; non-violent demonstration. For King, this brought about the Civil Rights movement. For Mandela, this meant the end of apartheid. The ultimate question this film wrestles with is an attempt to follow their lead or ignore their lessons. While the history of their decision is well known, the journey to that decision is why this movie is worth watching.
Be good to each other,