With rumours of retirement circulating once again, British social realism master Ken Loach returns with a healthy slice of Irish history.
While interesting through creating a stoic but upbeat atmosphere that leads to some relatively rousing scenes in the titular gathering place and boasting some good performances,Jimmy’s Hall‘s territory is simply too well-worn and not presented in a way different to its contemporaries (eg. Neil Jordan’s Michael Collins). The Troubles in Ireland have been well documented and transferred onto film, and Hall, to put it simply, is lacks the insight needed to be truly engaging, rarely venturing beyond what could be found in a history book or the like, despite the subject matter being more than worthy of attention. Like many a British film, it’s beautifully shot in a lush, crisp green palette with some excellent lighting (particularly in a scene between Jimmy and his love interest Oonagh), a cool breeze of a film in a climate like Australia.
Another film about forward thinkers being supplanted by the church, Jimmy’s Hall plays like a 30s-set Footloose meets Chocolat.
Jimmy’s Hall is screening as part of 2014 Emirates British Film Festival around Australia this month. For ticket information, check out www.britishfilmfestival.com.au.