Based on actual events that took place on January 30th, 1972, the film shows a deep insight and dramatisation of the Irish civil rights protest march. Political leader Ivan Cooper (James Nesbitt) is leading the protest march on a day that shall never be forgotten. Preparing for the march, we see Ivan talking and encouraging various people, including those he randomly passes on the street. His emphasis is continually on the fact that the march is meant to be peaceful, and they have no intention to engage in violence against the British.
It’s obvious that there has been lots of preparation relating to the march, and Ivan is also quite passionate about pushing for the march, no matter any possible setbacks. He is kind and considerate towards others, prioritising safety and protection. Ivan gives a heartwarming speech moments before the march begins. However, as the march begins, something tragic occurs, resulting in a horrifying massacre by the British troops.
Bloody Sunday is best described as a drama film, but it works wonderfully to inform those unaware of all the finer details surrounding this tragic event. The film can best be described as broken into two parts- before the massacre and during the massacre. From the very beginning, there’s a strong sense that something heartbreaking will occur. Cutting back and forth between the Irish and British troops, the film successfully shows both sides of the story and the important details.
The style of this film feels part film and part documentary. Director Paul Greengrass would later direct such films as The Bourne Identity, and you can see this in the filming style. The filming style sometimes feels somewhat shaky, adding to the tension, which builds gradually. The camera style gives the film a strong touch of realism that only engages the audience more.
Overall, this is a heartbreaking and devastating film. Serving as a dramatic rendition of the real tragedy, Director Paul Greengrass gives us plenty to admire here. His realistic style from start to finish makes it feel as if viewers are watching this whole thing from the sidelines. At times, elements such as a shaky camera give a nice touch and many moments on-screen will feel raw and tense.