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Route Irish: named after the most dangerous road in the world, this film follows a soldier‘s family and friend as they try to establish how he died working at a private security firm in Iraq. It’s one of the most directed films I’ve seen in a while, and has Ken Loach all over it – a micro-drama that feels realistic, with a docu-drama TV aesthetic and an unambiguous socio-political viewpoint (all in a good way !). Being ‘Lochean’ it also means that ‘Fuck‘ is every second word and most people prefer to shout in each other’s faces rather than talk. The story’s very strong, and the last half hour in particular is a total powerhouse, peaking during the most intense interrogation scene I can remember watching. Emotions are heightened throughout with some harsh footage of the focal incident, and some unpleasant, genuine war aftermath footage. The small cast are all watchable, although they’re left in the shadow of Mark Womack – who plays a brilliant self-destructing soldier armed with his smarts and an insatiable appetite for the truth. Being a modern anti-war film, it does well to play through a jaded soldier’s perspective – and it doesn’t have many positive things to say about private contractors. Gritty and believable no-holds-barred look at the effects of Iraq back home.

Score: 7.5/10

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