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  • Writer's pictureStrictly Films

Belfast; Grade: B+

Belfast tells a story about a boy named Buddy (Jude Hill) living in Belfast in the 60’s, where it’s located in Northern Ireland. In Belfast Buddy is surrounded by a well connected community, including ties with his family and many friends, as everyone knows everyone as he can play freely in streets with no stress nor worries whatsoever. Unfortunately for Buddy, their is a civil like war going on between the protestants and the Catholics, as the Protestants wreak havoc on the Catholics as they participate in riot like behavior. Buddy and his family have loved living in Belfast as Belfast is everything to them, however in this troubled environment… Though they manage despite what’s going on around them, their days in this land seem to be numbered as this is no place for a young child to be in.

Belfast is claimed to be film maker Kenneth Branagh’s most personal film, as this is inspired by his own life although it’s not a biopic in anyway. With Belfast you can honestly interpret that you felt some kind of connection while watching this story unfold, that it did felt like a very personal story and that this is Kenneth’s passion project in a way. With that being said: I really loved Belfast and I also think it’s a very timely film in what is going on today.

I say timely because in America today, I would say majority of the country is going through some kind of division between many groups taking much effect last year, as it has played a crucial part in some people’s everyday lives in certain States and cities. Like Buddy’s family: There are some people whom don’t really have any desire in participating in this tiring some conflict, as they just want to live a life that’s peaceful, civil, and to continue living in the place they loved and even lived in their whole life. There are beings in which though the circumstances are indeed rough, they continue to manage as the thought of leaving their beloved place in which they call home for many years because that’s all they known all their life.

But because the circumstances has escalated to a new level unsafe measures and most certainly dysfunction (New York is a prime example, as discrimination and danger thrives due to lack in leadership) they haven’t experienced before, to the point where humanity is much of a lost cause and that the place within itself is looking less and less of a home itself… A lot of people have no choice, but to contemplate in leaving the place behind, to have a much better and safer environment for their families. So in a way while watching Belfast: There is an odd connection going on with this film, compared to today… I say odd because this country should not in no way have this connection at all, I think it’s absurd some states/cities can’t get their shit together and actually fix the problems instead of ignoring it or make it worst.

Belfast within the story itself was an extremely well written film, as I would say it’s throughly engaging due the fact we have incredibly well written fleshed out characters. You can clearly tell this is Branagh’s passion project, due to the fact literally every single character in this film is actually developed and has a personality in which you can clearly understand what they are and what their motivations are. So for the most part this was a throughly entertaining story, where it’s basically watching everyday life unfold, as there’s a lot going on that goes beyond just the conflict within itself. There’s a lot of energy within this film as it comes from a point of a view of a small young boy, whom is throughly excited about what is bound to come each and everyday despite his surroundings are a bit hectic and crazy at the moment, as his time is consumed with his family, his friends, and of course a love interest in class.

The Cast were all great in this film, everyone does a great job and truly brings out Branagh’s personal story to life. Loved Buddy’s entire family in this film, as is felt like a real family as slight dysfunction follows however remains loving and involved with everyone in it. Jude Hill playing Buddy was adorable and had an awesome performance, Jamie Dornan playing the father continues to have a consistent streak as he had a pretty good performance, Caitriona Balfe was fantastic as the mother giving a very raw and accurate performance as a mother, and I loved Judi Dench and Ciaran Hinds playing the grandparents… Whole entire family were great characters.

I loved the Cinematography in this film, visually stunning in Black and White picture and lots of grand set pieces that felt close to the film makers home, that bring out a lot of information just by looking at the places you go. The Black and White serves a moral purpose especially in the film, as it plays off as life in this time period was indeed described as black and white. I like that the only time we actually see color in this story, is when Buddy or the family attend a movie or a theater play… Film brought color to Buddy and his family, as this was a time where this place brought some excitement, safety, and security to them as it’s a very relatable connection that most people have while attending films as I thought that was pretty great choice at hand. The opening has a terrific transition from modern day, to transitioning to the time period this film was set in… T’was awesome!

I guess flaws would be some pacing issues here and there, the Score didn’t really wow me like the rest of the film did, and some cliches you’d expect came out here and there. I would like to have more clear information as to how exactly did this conflict between the two religious groups started?! Why exactly are they rioting? Just needed some information to understand what was going on.

Overall, Belfast was a great film! I highly recommend checking this one out, it’s definitely a must see film in the theater especially, I think a lot of people will gain a grand experience from it. -Mitch Smietana

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