TIFF 2018: Black 47 – An Irish Western

James Frecheville in Black 47. Courtesy of TIFF.

Black 47 offers a Western vibe as the film takes us back to 1847 when the country of Ireland was two years into their battle with the Great Famine.

Feeney (James Frecheville) returns to his home in Ireland after deciding to leave the British Army.  Nothing prepares him for the horrible conditions he’s about to face.  Despite having seen the conditions that war provides, the famine provides for some sights he wasn’t ready for.  Feeney discovers that his mom was forced into starvation and dies before he returned home.  His brother was hanged.  With these two estranged loved ones dead, Feeney sets his sights on a path of vengeance.

Before Feeney can make much damage, British soldier Hannah (Hugo Weaving) is sent to track him and stop him from firing up an Irish revolution.  The two have a sense of respect for each other but times are changing.  Nobody could have foreseen what the famine would lead to.

The Great Famine would see Ireland lose 25% of their population.  One can say that the country never truly survived in the same way.  Among all of Europe, Ireland has a population less than what they had before the famine.

While director Lance Daly means well, Black 47 somehow falls short of one’s cinematic expectations.

DIRECTOR:  Lance Daly
SCREENWRITERS:  PJ Dillon, Pierce Ryan, Eugene O’Brien, Lance Daly
CAST:  Hugo Weaving, James Frecheville, Stephen Rea, Freddie Fox, Barry Keoghan, Moe Dunford, with Sarah Greene, and Jim Broadbent

Black 47 holds its North American premiere at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival in the Contemporary World Cinema program.  IFC Films will release the film on October 12, 2018.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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