The Wind That Shakes the Barley

User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 62 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 51 out of 62
  2. Negative: 3 out of 62

Where To Watch

Stream On
Stream On
Stream On

Review this movie

  1. Your Score
    0 out of 10
    Rate this:
    • 10
    • 9
    • 8
    • 7
    • 6
    • 5
    • 4
    • 3
    • 2
    • 1
    • 0
    • 0
  1. Submit
  2. Check Spelling

User Reviews

  1. May 1, 2014
    8
    The Wind That Shakes the Barley is a war film that is far more than your typical war film. It is dark, yes, but it is deeply emotional and entirely tragic, yet beautiful all the same. From the shots of the lovely Irish countryside to the interactions amongst the characters to the costumes, the film was very much a beautiful one. However, it is the acting and characterization of theThe Wind That Shakes the Barley is a war film that is far more than your typical war film. It is dark, yes, but it is deeply emotional and entirely tragic, yet beautiful all the same. From the shots of the lovely Irish countryside to the interactions amongst the characters to the costumes, the film was very much a beautiful one. However, it is the acting and characterization of the characters that really help to make this film a home run. In war films, there is typically a plethora of action with little-to-no character development. However, here, we get both. We are not shielded to the carnage of war as there is plenty of "action", but we also get the emotional trauma that accompanies war in the characters' interactions with one another and their families. Cillian Murphy and cast also kill their roles and really handle this one perfectly, as does the director, Ken Loach. Another strength for the film is the delicacy with which is handles the tension between the British and the Irish. Yes, the British are depicted as evil and unjust, but we are not given a romanticized version of the IRA either. Instead, we see them doing exactly what the British do, but since we are seeing the war through their eyes, we are not angered by their actions. But, by showing them doing exactly what the Brits do, especially at the end, the film allows us to realize that there is no true bad guy and both sides have rotten elements to them. Nobody is truly innocent on either side. At the end of the day though, the violence and trauma depicted effect everybody involved in the war effort, whether directly or indirectly. A beautifully tragic film, The Wind That Shakes the Barley is a very good film. It is not a great one, but it is hard to ask for much more from a film of this kind. Expand
  2. Jul 29, 2011
    10
    Cilian Murphy Was AMAZING,The Whole Film Was Brilliant With Brilliant Filmmaking And Superb Acting,Mesmerizing Music,Cinematography Was Excellent.

    Great Film

    10/10.
  3. Feb 18, 2011
    8
    Brothers at war - Damien O'Donell sacrifices his possibilities of having a career as a doctor in order to fight for Ireland with his brother during the Irish war of independence in 1920. Outmaneouvered and understaffed by British Black and Tans patrols, they join the Irish republican army with their closest friends. All though significantly outnumbered, they refuse to give away theirBrothers at war - Damien O'Donell sacrifices his possibilities of having a career as a doctor in order to fight for Ireland with his brother during the Irish war of independence in 1920. Outmaneouvered and understaffed by British Black and Tans patrols, they join the Irish republican army with their closest friends. All though significantly outnumbered, they refuse to give away their independence to the United Kingdom and retaliates with unconditional patriotism. As the war increases and lives are lost, Damien falls in love with his childhood friend Sinead, who operates as their informant and provides them with food and artillery. The democracy amongst the inhabitants in Ireland are beginning to doubt their chances against the Brits, and the differences in opinion are about to complicate the relationship between Damien and Teddy.

    In "The Wind That Shakes the Barley", the great humanitarian Ken Loach went far back in history to depict the Irish War of independence (1919-1921) and the Irish Civil War (1922-1923). He also moved to new surroundings, and unlike most of his films which are set in cities: "Riff-Raff" (1990), "LadybirdLadybird" (1994), "My Name Is Joe" (1998) and "Ae Fond Kissâ
    Expand
  4. Nxx
    Dec 26, 2010
    7
    With Ken Loach as the driving force behind this story nascent nationhood, it's no surprise that the 'occupying force' is treated with very little sensitivity. But, that said, 'The Wind That Shakes the Barley' spends almost equal time examining the implosion of civil war and it effects. It's both a harrowing and beautiful film to watch, with strong performances. Loach's occasional delvingWith Ken Loach as the driving force behind this story nascent nationhood, it's no surprise that the 'occupying force' is treated with very little sensitivity. But, that said, 'The Wind That Shakes the Barley' spends almost equal time examining the implosion of civil war and it effects. It's both a harrowing and beautiful film to watch, with strong performances. Loach's occasional delving into improvised dialogue can sometimes come off as a little like dodgy takes, but for the most part they work here. Expand
  5. ChadS.
    Oct 21, 2007
    7
    Damien(Cillian Murphy) is the one with brains, London-bound, a future doctor. He's educated. He's supposed to be the sanest of the bunch. Alas, Damien is the trigger-man when it's time to execute a young Irish farmhand to an English baron who sold his mates out to the enemy. Instead of saving lives, he's ending them. Just in case we missed the irony, he tells us. Does Damien(Cillian Murphy) is the one with brains, London-bound, a future doctor. He's educated. He's supposed to be the sanest of the bunch. Alas, Damien is the trigger-man when it's time to execute a young Irish farmhand to an English baron who sold his mates out to the enemy. Instead of saving lives, he's ending them. Just in case we missed the irony, he tells us. Does the filmmaker show too heavy a hand in exemplifying the horrors of a civil war? That's debatable. War isn't subtle, and yet, you have to wonder if Damien's transformation from a reluctant soldier to a cold-blooded murderer is entirely organic, or the grand gesture of a radicalized filmmaker. Nevertheless, this particular scene, and Damien's ensuing comeuppance is riveting stuff. "The Wind That Shakes the Barley" works. At least the filmmaker shows some restraint. The niceties of English culture are largely kept off-screen. There's no tea-time, no crumpets, no butlers in penguin suits. Also, the most heroic deed is performed by a young English soldier. Expand
  6. JoeM.
    Sep 24, 2007
    8
    A good faithful account. Some would say that the movie was boring. But they're just Americans who think that Ireland at this time was like warfare in Iraq.
  7. GM.
    Jun 22, 2007
    10
    This is a must see for anyone with the slightest interest in what has happened in Ireland. It is a harrowing story which gives an insight of the hardship and pain caused by imperialist Britain in the earlier 20th century and how they fought back. Something that nobody can deny and is quite insulting towards the Irish people to do so. It also shows how torn apart the Irish people became This is a must see for anyone with the slightest interest in what has happened in Ireland. It is a harrowing story which gives an insight of the hardship and pain caused by imperialist Britain in the earlier 20th century and how they fought back. Something that nobody can deny and is quite insulting towards the Irish people to do so. It also shows how torn apart the Irish people became after the treaty was signed to split the country which is an open sore that is still unhealed to this day. Expand
  8. SG.
    May 29, 2007
    8
    I liked this film because it's interesting and directed by Ken Loach. Cillian Murphy is a good actor and does his job well. It made my mom cry but that's not really saying much seeing as my mom started crying while reading a children's book. Overall a good film. I wish I'd learnt about the history first.
  9. Rosie
    May 7, 2007
    9
    Mr Pedro B, I have to disagree with you completely. Loach is not being one sided. If you knew anything about what has happened in Ireland this last hundred years or so you would know that the English don't have a foot to stand on. I would like you to research the background of this film and you will see that the British came to THIS country and made lives hell for no reason. Mr Pedro B, I have to disagree with you completely. Loach is not being one sided. If you knew anything about what has happened in Ireland this last hundred years or so you would know that the English don't have a foot to stand on. I would like you to research the background of this film and you will see that the British came to THIS country and made lives hell for no reason. Obviously the Irish fought back.. but I am aware the Irish are not angles but this film depicts what ACTUALLY happened. It is based on TRUE events! So it is not ONE SIDED. If it did show it from the British point of veiw, you will still see the British wrecking houses and brutally murdering people! Ok! Loach has done an excellent job in showing how the troubles turned brother against brother. It is a very powerful film and truly thought-provoking. Expand
  10. Alexandra
    May 6, 2007
    9
    Heartbreakingly beautiful. An extremly well done film, wonderful acting, and beautiful cinematography. I found it to be a very moving story.
  11. NeilM.
    Apr 28, 2007
    10
    One of the most powerful films ive ever seen. People unfamiliar with Irish history may be confused by the politics. Do not confuse the modern day IRA with the one presented in the film, not the same. Loach could probably got a load of Hollywood actors to star in this one like almost all othe Irish films and the result is obvious... its REAL.
  12. vee
    Mar 16, 2007
    9
    Seen it at a festival last summer. Poignant story, powerful acting, beautiful cinematography.

Awards & Rankings

Metascore
82

Universal acclaim - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 30
  2. Negative: 0 out of 30
  1. Atmospheric but pedestrian, it is a retelling of the classic tragedy of all civil wars, from the U.S. to Vietnam to England, where brother is pitched against brother.
  2. 90
    A sombrely beautiful dream of the violent Irish past. Refusing the standard flourishes of Irish wildness or lyricism, Loach has made a film for our moment, a time of bewildering internecine warfare.
  3. Reviewed by: Derek Elley
    60
    Though tastily lensed and with a convincing cast led by Cillian Murphy, essentially small-scale picture lacks the involving sweep of Loach's earlier historical-political yarn, "Land and Freedom."