Belfast, directed by Kenneth Branagh – Review

Diving among his memories is where Kenneth Branagh seems to have found gold once and for all in his career, planting a flag with a film where everything is built on the love for family, for roots, for life and for the cinema that shape like people. ‘Belfast‘is another trip to the past in which its director watches and remembers from the distance and maturity that time gives him, scratching every moment of tenderness and appreciation for the walls of those streets that surrounded him, not only full of bricks but also of people, of local affection and of values. One of those works that every director should have in his filmography to finish consolidating the reflective vision of why I am who I am, discussing where I come from and appreciating how I got here.

Led by the rookie’s radiant, sweet, and delicate performance Jude Hill In this role of Buddy, soul of the family and center of all the care of his elders, the ‘Belfast’ is a recital of how to direct a cast and above all how to give each one of them a moment to shine, to such an extent that when the film faces its second half, individual and collective moments of brilliance become a constant where tears do not stop flowing for half an hour, linking feelings in a familiar spider web where all the threads converge with attention and softness at the same point: Buddy’s emotional and personal education.

With a Jamie Dornan in the best role of his career, that of that honorable father forced to be absent more than he would like to be able to bring the bread home but fully aware of his absence and the effort of his wife in taking care of the children, and some magnificent Ciarán Hinds and Judi Dench in the The role of the child’s grandparents, with their respective sequences in which to pass on everything he learned to his grandson, if someone stands out above all that is Caitriona Balfe. And it is his character who breaks his face every day to educate Buddy and his brother in values ​​where hatred towards the neighbor has no place, always on the alert for the complicated situation in a neighborhood where Catholics and Protestants face ideologies, but also conscious and fearful of the need to leave that place where she was born, which has seen her grow up and where she has raised her children.

Scene from “Belfast”, directed by Kenneth Branagh, one of the favorite films to win the Oscar.

With a clean black and white, polished of classics, Branagh reserves the color for the occasional significant moment in Buddy’s maturity, one of those that by the touch with which they are portrayed, we intuit that they are part of those foundational pearls that he has never erased from his memory, between cinemas and theaters, just those places where many will find their personal Shangri-La, a paradise where for a few hours only fiction exists, as real as life itself but devoid of any concern.

Comparisons with Cuarón’s recent ‘Roma’, another journey through its director’s childhood, are unavoidable, but if something differentiates ‘Belfast’ from it, it is the forms, leaving here a work much more accessible within those margins at which that Hollywood has accustomed to the audience, although also much more moving personally and unleashed in the simplicity of its emotion, getting closer to works such as’ Cinema Paradiso ‘by Giuseppe Tornatore or’The Long Day Closes‘by Terence Davies, to whom he also does not hesitate to pay tribute visually, in a film where the references to their cultural education are constant, from that comic of ‘Thor’ (superhero whose film he would end up directing for Marvel), to ‘One Million Years BC’ by Raquel Welch, through the western ‘High Noon’ by Grace Kelly and Gary Cooper, or the ‘Star Trek’ original.

‘Belfast’ is one of those films that it is almost unthinkable that someone might not like it, so honest and simple in its approach as it is sentimental and affectionate in its treatment of its characters. Another one of those times when going to the movie theater with heart in hand ends up rewarding each person willing to fall in love with the big screen again. A work of artisan, with the enormous ability to destroy any viewer who crosses the journey of his images from the projector to the blank canvas. ‘Belfast’ is cinema becoming magic and charm again.

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Belfast, directed by Kenneth Branagh – Review

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