Movie Review: "Bloody Sunday" directed by Paul Greengrass

The film poster for Bloody Sunday. Photo from Amazon

Bloody Sunday is one of the most heartbreaking tragedies of Irish history, and this event escalated tension between the British and Irish nationalists during the three-decade period known as the Troubles. 2022 marks the 50th anniversary of that day of a sudden, heartless onslaught.

On January 30th, 1972, several victims, who participated in a peaceful march for the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association in Derry, Northern Ireland, died when British soldiers fired at these protesters. The aftermath of this massacre still haunts Northern Ireland.

The docudrama, Bloody Sunday, follows Ivan Cooper, a member of the Social Democratic and Labour Party, as he courageously leads this protest march through streets that suddenly become riddled with relentless gunfire, rubber bullets, and tanks.

Paul Greengrass directed this movie with a closeness that lingers on the violence and the innocent casualties. The real-time buildup of tension throughout Bloody Sunday is also evident in a few of his other docudramas, such as United 93, Captain Phillips, and 22 July.

The director establishes who Ivan Cooper is and his unshakeable advocacy for Irish nationalism, and he elaborates on the fallout of what exactly happened. British troops summarizing the deaths and rounds of fire make viewers consider the lasting consequences of tragedies like the Bogside Massacre.

When Cooper shares with reporters what he witnessed, his perspective challenges people to approach this massacre from the perspective of the victims and their families scarred by Bloody Sunday. This film honors all the people murdered on this fateful day as an act of justice.

While U2’sSunday Bloody Sunday” plays during the closing credits, I cannot help but think about how much more progress justice requires to prevent this lawlessness from occurring again.

Here is a trailer for Bloody Sunday:

Bloody Sunday is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video and Starz. You can also check out books about Bloody Sunday and Ireland from the Jefferson County Library Cooperative, including all 16 active Birmingham Public Library locations.

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By William Anthony | Librarian Ⅰ, Citizen Services at Central