Posts Tagged ‘Stephen Rea’

James Frecheville

“BLACK 47” My rating: B

96 minutes | MPAA rating: R

The story arc of “Black ’47” will be familiar to anyone who’s seen a Western about a posse in pursuit of a wiley outlaw (or Apache).

What makes the film special is the setting.

Lance Daly’s movie unfolds in Ireland during the potato famine, a situation rarely if ever depicted in the movies. While the film’s dramatic tropes follow an expected trajectory, the background against which the action plays out — and which informs the film with a moral imperative — becomes a character in its own right.

In 1847 army deserter Martin Feeney (James Frecheville) arrives in his Connemara birthplace after a long journey from India. He finds a land wracked by starvation after the failure of the potato crop. Dead bodies lie by the roadsides. Virtually everyone is a shoeless beggar.

He discovers that his mother has died and his brother has been executed by the British, and he tries to intervene in the eviction of his widowed sister-in-law and her children, who promptly freeze to death.

Arrested by the local constables, Feeney slaughters a half dozen officers in their own station house, then goes on to kill the judge who hanged his brother, behead the land agent who initiated the eviction, and destroy a revival tent where Protestant missionaries offer soup to the dying…providing they give up Roman Catholicism.


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