Director: nick hamm (godsend, killing bono)
Starring: timothy spall, colm meaney, freddie highmore, and john hurt.
REVIEWER: lyall carter
Ian Paisley, a staunch evangelical Protestant and hard-line Unionist, and Martin McGuinness, the former leader of the IRA, are forced to travel together in the same car while negotiating a peace deal.
Although its a part of history that has always intrigued me, I still know very little about The Troubles in Ireland having grown up when they weren't as prominent as they once were. The little I know is from films such as Michael Collins and Bloody Sunday. And boy do you gain some insight into The Troubles in The Journey.
During peace negotiations, Ian Paisley, a Unionist, and Martin McGuinness, the former leader of the IRA, must travel together to an awaiting plane. It is during this fictional journey that years of mutually held hatred spews out.
The highpoint of The Journey is its two leading men Timothy Spall and Colm Meaney who both give powerful performances. Timothy Spall is the firebrand, preacher, spitting forth rage at the pain and misery that he believes lies squarely at the feet of the IRA and not at his own door. After watching some archive footage of the real Ian Paisley Spall is not only the spitting image of him but has his particular accent and phrasing spot on. Colm Meaney always gives big performances no matter if he is leading or merely in a supporting role. He always seems to command the screen or stage but in The Journey he is very much the stable, held together one of the two, only flying off the handle when completely provoked.
Toby Stephens is particularly good as Tony Blair and it was bitter sweet to see the late John Hurt in one of his last roles. He was, as always, perfection.
Outstanding performances from Spall and Meaney and with the intimacy of a stage play, The Journey is simply outstanding.