A Loach film with a difference, Irish features explosions, cross-cutting between clashes at home and abroad and, as the plot kicks into gear, takes on the form of conspiracy thriller. There's fire in front of and behind the camera as Womack's intense performance is matched by Loach and screenwriter Paul Laverty's ire at the casualties of war. Post-Iraq Fergus is an empty shell, he's made good money from his time as a soldier of fortune but guilt weighs heavy on his shoulders - he brought his best pal Frankie into the private firm, so naturally blames himself for his death. It's his search for the truth - via a mobile phone video, webcam conversations and waterboarding interrogation - that drives forward Route Irish.
It's not a flawless film, however. Fergus's relationship with Frankie's widow Rachel (Andrea Lowe) plays out relatively flat and their sort-of-romance jars with the thriller elements. This is searing and gripping cinema though, and like Taxi Driver (Womack's fierce performance even recalls De Niro's Travis Bickle) delved into the fallout of Vietnam, Route Irish has pertinent points to make about the human trauma of war.
Leave your comments on this post below!