|'Loach has little to offer on foreign conflicts that hasn't already been offered, more eloquently, elsewhere'|
Route Irish, a film obsessed with the idea that we haven't quite been told the whole truth, sees Ken Loach take his social realism and apply it to the United State's occupation of Iraq. The tale of Scouse working-class heroes Fergus (Mark Womack) and Frankie (John Bishop) is steeped in the usual Loach-lore of honest do-gooders, trodden on by a system that seems to operate on its own, broken, rules.
The problem with this is that whilst it has something to say when looking at, perhaps, broken English families or the effects of economic depression, Loach has little to offer on foreign conflicts that hasn't already been offered, more eloquently, elsewhere. The analysis of the Iraq conflict, which must now be reaching saturation point, means that Loach's supposition that Very Bad Things are happening out there, hidden from the public, is long past the point of supposition and has instead rather reached the point of fact.
Accepting then that Route Irish is a mute point thematically, this only leaves some flaky acting and a sub-espionage plot which reveals its conclusion far too early. Both Bishop and Womack seem like they could be accomplished actors but for some reason, they choose to deliver every other line (every line in some cases) with spittle-spouting vigour. Even relatively innocuous moments are shouted at the audience in a hail of swearing and non-concern for elements of subtlety or depth.
In conjunction, the faltering elements of Paul Laverty's script make it not just a film with an already explained message but a film that shouts the message, rather unpleasantly, at anyone in a two mile radius. Not Loach's finest work.
'an often troubling, occasionally thrilling and always tragic low-key drama' - Movie Reviews by Tom Clift