Black 47
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Black 47

Irish film-maker Lance Daly has taken on the great famine of the 19th century, and its worst year, the “Black ’47”, drawing from it an intestine-snappingly brutal movie that you could call revenge horror, or revenge western. Revenge something, anyway. And this is probably the generic result of seeing the famine not as a sorrowful tragedy, but as a matter of criminal constitutional negligence, with colonial rulers creating a serf class of disenfranchised tenant farmers, whose product was exported and who were made dependent for subsistence on a single, blight-vulnerable strain of potato.

Australian actor James Frecheville (who made his 2010 breakthrough in David Michôd’s Melbourne mob Woman Walks Ahead thriller Animal Kingdom) gives a coldly terrifying performance as Feeney, an Irishman who deserts from the British army and returns to his homeland to discover the truth about how his family have been tyrannised and allowed to die in squalor and misery. Repurposing his army training, Feeney goes on a rampaging mission of revenge-banditry against the landlords and their collaborator middlemen, in the process becoming a kind of implacable Fury, a Ned Kelly figure of insurgent justice.

Duration: 96 min


IMDb: 6.3

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