Black 47 movie poster

File under: be careful who you train and arm for war. An Irish super-soldier (James Frecheville, bearded and glaring) serving in the English army decides he’s had a bellyful of war and death and returns home to say goodbye before slipping off to America, only to find that his former employers have plunged his country into ruin and destroyed his family. (His mother wouldn’t take the soup offered to the famine-ravaged in exchange for apostasy, his brother was hanged, et cetera, ad nauseam.) So he puts his skillset to work, methodically working his way up from constable to Lord, appearing as either ghost or juggernaut depending on the situation. (His ultra-badassery is actually something of a drawback, lending a discordant twang of unreality to an otherwise all-too-real dirge of sickness, bleakness, and despair.) Of course, the Crown doesn’t take kindly to this sort of upstart bloodshed, and they’ve got just the man (Hugo Weaving, also bearded and glaring) to track and trap our hero. Well, not a hero, exactly: he doesn’t pretend to be doing anything but avenging his family, violence begetting violence in utterly amoral fashion. Director and co-writer Lance Daly tells a blunt-force story in blunt-force fashion, draining the color from both landscape and denizens, and spelling out details in dialogue where he thinks it might be helpful. 2018.

Matthew Lickona

This movie is not currently in theaters.

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