Route Irish

Wednesday October 27th 2010

People say it takes 10 years of hindsight to make a truly great war movie. At that rate, we’re still quite a few years off the first classic portrait of the Iraq War.

Mainstream efforts so far have veered between ‘meditative’ dramas (In The Valley of Elah), agitprop thrillers (Redacted), procedural action spectaculars (The Hurt Locker) and even Samuel L. Jackson movies (Home of the Brave). This new entry from Ken Loach, named after the road that connects Baghdad Airport with the safe haven of the Green Zone, borrows from all of the above but – sadly – fails to resonate in most cases.

And that Sam Jackson cameo is a bitch to spot.

Here’s a more qualitative guide:

As a character study it does relatively well, thanks largely to a tight script by regular collaborator Paul Laverty and a strong performance by Mark Womack. But elsewhere, its treatment of the war is so hysterical and bombastic that it fails to make much impact at all.

In short: It’s a sad day when a Ken Loach war movie is only marginally better than a Paul Haggis war movie.