2002 / Director. Paul Greengrass.
Bloody Sunday is the film, which cemented James Nesbitt as my favourite actor. Sitting in a crowded cinema, I watched the film in awe. It upset me and strangled emotion from me... in fact the entire audience sat in silence as the final credits rolled. The film depicts the infamous 1972 Bloody Sunday massacre of Derry, a township in Northern Ireland. Nesbitt plays Ivan Cooper, a member of parliament who organised and lead a peaceful march through the streets of Derry, protesting for civil rights against internment. The British military opened fire on the crowed, killing 26 of it's members... some children. It was a dark dark day in Northern Ireland's history and an ugly day for Britain. Paul Greengrass has made a lot of great films but this is my personal favourite. He attacked this story in a raw and unflinching way. Shot with hand held cameras, almost documentary in its depiction, he follows people on the ground from both sides of the conflict. Watching the chaos, you get a real sense of how it all unfolded and understand the anger and emotion. It's powerful stuff. Nesbitt is incredible as he desperately pleas with his people to calm down and walk away. I've never seen him better than he is in this film and his final speech is one of the most emotionally charged performances I can recall. I still get chills every time I hear him deliver it. As ugly as the film is, it is a real testament and tribute to the people of this township, and those who were killed. It wasn't until 2010, after a 12 year inquiry, that the British government acknowledged responsibility and apologised for the incident. This is but one small chapter in an overlong and turbulent history in Northern Ireland, but it's a powerful one. Greengass also produced a powerful companion film called Omagh and I highly recommend it also.