Liverpool, August 1976. 5-year-old Fergus met Frankie on his first day at school. They’ve been in each others’ shadow ever since. As teenagers they skipped school and drank cider on the ferry over the River Mersey, dreaming about travelling the world. Little did Fergus realise his dream would come true as a highly trained member of the UK’s elite special forces, the SAS.
After resigning in September 2004, Fergus persuaded Frankie (by now an ex-Para)to join his security team in Baghdad. £10,000 a month, tax free. Their last chance to “load up” in this increasingly privatised war. Together they risked their lives in a city steeped in violence, terror and greed, and awash with billions of US dollars. In September 2007, Frankie died on Route Irish, the most dangerous road in the world.
Back in Liverpool, a grief-stricken Fergus rejects the official explanation, and begins his own investigation into his soul mate’s death. Only Rachel, Frankie’s partner, grasps the depth of Fergus’s sorrow, and the lethal possibilities of his fury. As Fergus tries to find out what happened to Frankie on Route Irish, he and Rachel grow closer. As he approaches the truth behind Frankie’s death, Fergus struggles to find his old self and the happiness he shared with Frankie twenty years earlier on the Mersey. —Cannes Film Festival
Unlike virtually all his contemporaries, Ken Loach has never succumbed to the siren call of Hollywood, and it’s virtually impossible to imagine his particular brand of British socialist realism translating well to that context. After studying law at St. Peter’s College, Oxford, he branched out into the theater, performing with a touring repertory company. This led to television, where in alliance with producer ‘Tony Garnett’ he produced a series of docudramas, most notably the devastating “Cathy Come Home” episode of “The Wednesday Play” (1964), whose impact was so massive that it led directly to a change in the homeless laws. He made his feature debut Poor Cow (1967) the following year, and with “Kes”, he produced what is now acclaimed as one of the finest films ever made in Britain. However, the following two decades saw his career in the doldrums with his films poorly distributed (despite the obvious quality of work such as The Gamekeeper (1968) (TV) and Looks and Smiles (1981… read more
The best Ken Loach in at least a decade, aside from "The Wind That Shakes The Barley". The script is mostly realistic, although a little hokey at times, but the performances are great and the tone is perfect. Expecting no less from Loach, this film realistically captures the cynicism and a business-minded perspective of war, as well as the way it afflicts the returned soldier. A well crafted piece of cinema.
Loach’s stab at Iraq - the warfare, motives, cynicism; consistent with his ideology - as well as of the scarring impacts of war on the home front. The potency and anguish can feel perfunctory in characterisation at times, making it enough to engage, if not quite compel - slight affectation over lasting effect. But there are lucid stretches of strong drama, to be sure - scenes near the end when apparent ‘justice’ is dealt are just as morally unsatisfying to watch, revealing Loach’s reconciling point of how all morals and humanity suffer.