When friend Vika (Anamaria Marinca) asks Joe Griffen (James Nesbitt), the brother of a man killed in 1975 by one Alistair Little (Liam Neeson), if killing Alistair would not be good for him, Joe replies ' Not good for me? My five minutes of heaven!' And so runs the razor sharp dialog and acting and power of this little film from the UK that relates the story of a 1975 event in Northern Ireland when Catholics and Protestants were at war and the young Protestant Alistair Little (Mark David), as a UVF member (Ulster Volunteer Force), gathers his friends and 'kills a Catholic' - but the murder happens in front of the victim's 11-year-old brother Joe Griffen. Flash forward to 2008 when Alistair Little (now Liam Neeson) has served his prison term and is set up by the media to relate the story of the incident and supposedly meet and shake hands on camera with the now mature Joe Griffen. It is a film about youthful involvement in terrorism and the sequelae that haunts or obsesses the victim's family and the perpetrator. The confrontation between Alistair and Joe is a devastating one.
Guy Hibbert wrote this excruciatingly visceral screenplay and Oliver Hirschbiegel directs a first rate cast. Though Liam Neeson is billed as the star, the film belongs to the powerful acting by James Nesbitt as the vengeful Joe Griffen. The cinematography is dark and dank like the atmosphere in both the warring fog of 1975 and the attempt at reconciliation in 2008. There are subtle pieces of thoughtful enhancement, such as the use of the Mozart 'Requiem' in the near hidden score. In all, this is a moving film about truth and reconciliation that deserves the attention of us all, especially in this time of random acts of terrorism and their possible imprint on our minds and on society. Grady Harp, January 10
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