The Journey ⭐⭐⭐½

As a Peter Morgan-esque fictitious conversation between Dr. Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness as they travel from St. Andrews to Edinburgh airport during the Anglo-Irish Peace talks, it manages to capture something very real about their relationship. This conversation as imagined by writer Colin Bateman acts as the vehicle in which we come to understand the underlying philosophical basis in reality that brought these two lifelong enemies from opposing point-of-views together in a historical agreement that finally brought peace to Northern Ireland after years of strive and violence. While it is always great to see John Hurt on screen, his MI6 character serves mostly a narrative and expository function, but such slight clunkiness aside, the script is for the most part thoughtful, balanced, and often very funny, and with Colm Meaney (McGuiness) and Timothy Spall (Paisley) on top form here, they manage to avoid broad caricatures and give the characters they play genuine humanity. The film still feels made for the small screen but Nick Hamm’s direction does have the occasional flair, with his use of aerial shots (of long stretches of road depicting not only the distance they have to go but also the divide between their ideologies) to give poignancy and symbolic significance during the pauses in between scenes. A charming and engaging film that seems all the more timely in this day and age of fake news and political inelegance.


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