What You Need To Know:
The acting in BLOODY SUNDAY is superb, especially by James Nesbitt, who plays Ivan Cooper. The editing is very jumpy, however, attempting to create action by jump-cutting between different points of view. Even so, this is a powerful movie that is, in effect, a call to arms. However, it would be wise not to take sides and aggravate this dreadful war between brothers in Jesus Christ. The movie also contains some humanist elements and plenty of strong foul language
(C, HH, LLL, VV, S, M) Light Christian worldview with strong humanist elements and positive portraits of priests who are willing to brave gunfire to try to rescue people and to give the wounded the last rites; 25 obscenities and 11 profanities; documentary type battle violence including civilians shot and beaten complete with blood spurting; heavy petting and kissing; and, lying under oath, deception, cruelty, and rebellion.
Contrary to who Jesus Christ is and his teachings, Roman Catholics and Protestants have been fighting for centuries in Ireland. BLOODY SUNDAY focuses on one of the saddest events in that long, sad war between brothers: the senseless killing of innocent civilians during a civil rights march on January 30, 1972 in Londonderry in Northern Ireland.
The movie tells the story of this event from the Catholic perspective and is a powerful polemic that requires an act of will to ask whether there is another side to the story. Even if there is another side, this is a tragic tale.
BLOODY SUNDAY opens with two press conferences. At one, Major General Robert Ford (Tim Pigott-Smith) of the British Army declares that the Catholics residents will no longer be allowed to assemble or to march. Several soldiers have been killed in the past few months and the brigadier general desires to crack down and teach the Irish a lesson.
At the other press conference, Ivan Cooper (James Nesbitt), a Protestant member of Parliament representing an Irish-Catholic district in Londonderry, seems to respond, though he’s simply calling for his constituents to march for their civil rights on the next Sunday.
Later, while Mr. Cooper organizes the march, the British army plans a pincer movement to trap the radicals and put them all in jail. As the Irish Catholics assemble, the drama and expectations of disaster build. Cooper and the leaders of the march decide to turn away from the Protestant area of Londonderry to keep the confrontation from happening, but a few of the young hotheads turn toward the barricades. Meanwhile, the commander of the British troops calls for a cease-fire, but one of the units decides to take action.
Of course, the inevitable occurs. Men, women and teenagers are shot. Tragedy occurs. The IRA is given a reason to become more militant and to abandon peaceful civil rights. The British soldiers lie about what happened. One soldier who objected strenuously during the bloodbath lies when brought before the board of inquiry.
At the end of the movie, there is a feeling of tremendous loathing for the British. The filmmakers never touch upon the political and social issues involved in Northern Ireland. Although the majority of the population is Protestant and has voted for the British to say, the movie portrays the British as merely a conquering army.
The acting in BLOODY SUNDAY is superb, especially by James Nesbitt, who plays Ivan Cooper. The editing is very jumpy, however, attempting to create action by jump-cutting between different points of view. Even so, this is a powerful movie that is, in effect, a call to arms. However, it would be wise not to accept this polemic at face value and then take sides and aggravate or prolong this dreadful war between brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ. Therefore, MOVIEGUIDE® recommends that viewers investigate the situation fully before jumping to conclusions after viewing BLOODY SUNDAY.