Director: Ken Loach
Starring: Mark Womack, Andrea Lowe, John Bishop
Duration: 109 min.
The story of a private security contractor in Iraq who rejected the official explanation of his friend's death and sets out to discover the truth.
Route Irish is a film from acclaimed British director Ken Loach, it premiered in competition at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. It is a drama set in Liverpool, England and its title comes from the nickname for the highway between Baghdad's International Airport and the International Green Zone.
This is another powerful film from Loach, and is a change of pace from his regular social dramas. Unexpectedly, this film has an almost Hollywood thriller feel to it, though not quite as grand in scale and still focuses on the raw and emotional personal stories.
The acting is a strong point, and Mark Womack is impressive in the lead role Fergus, a former private contractor in Iraq where his best friend Frankie was recently killed, he really brings his character to life in some very gripping scenes. Andrea Lowe also lends some solid support as Frankie's widow, though not a very fleshed out character, she still handles the role convincingly.
The story and screenplay written by Loach's frequent collaborator Paul Laverty is also quite good, creating a film that starts off as a typical mystery thriller, and putting some brilliant twists on it. Along with some very interesting scenes, including a particularly enjoyable game of blind football, and an absolutely harrowing scene of water-boarding that could not have been faked. However, the tone throughout is overly preachy and constantly sends a very strong and obvious anti-war message, they did not need to include so much documentary footage of dead civilians to get the point across.