BLACK ‘47 (15)

BLACK ‘47 (15)

Run time: 100 MINS

Director: Lance Daly

Cast: Hugo Weaving, James Frecheville, Stephen Rea, Freddie Fox, Barry Keoghan, Jim Broadbent, Moe Dunford, Sarah Greene

Synopsis: In 1847, an Irish Ranger returns from war to find that his mother has died in the famine and his brother is sentenced to death by the British. When his plan to emigrate to America fails, he starts a vendetta against the establishment in Ireland.

Languages: English, Irish Gaelic


Director Lance Daly [Kisses (2008), Life’s a Breeze (2013), The Halo Effect (2004)]

brings this harrowing and effective revenge thriller to the screen, with a screenplay by P.J. Dillon, Pierce Ryan, Eugene O’Brien and Lance Daly, based on the Irish language short film An Ranger, written and directed by Dillon and Ryan.

The title refers to the summer of the most devastating year of the Great Irish Famine, 1847, which is referred to as ‘Black ’47’, during which hundreds of thousands of people died from starvation.

The Great Famine has ravaged the country for two long years when Feeney [James Frecheville – The Drop (2014), Animal Kingdom (2010)], a hardened Irish Ranger who has been fighting for the British Army abroad, abandons his post to return home and reunite with his family. He has seen more than his share of horrors, but nothing prepares him for the famine’s destruction of his homeland, its brutalisation of his people and the abandonment of law and order. He discovers his mother has starved to death and his brother was hanged by the brutal hand of the English. With little else to live for, he sets out on a destructive path to avenge his family – with an unlikely ally.

Hannah [Hugo Weaving – Patrick Melrose (TV, 2018), Hacksaw Ridge (2016)], is a veteran of the British army who is working as an investigator for the Royal Irish Constabulary. While interrogating a member of the Young Ireland movement, Hannah loses his temper over the prisoner’s refusal to name names and strangles him. Facing a death sentence, Hannah, who served with Feeney in Afghanistan, is compelled to assist Pope [Freddie Fox – King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017), Victor Frankenstein (2015), The Riot Club (2014)], an arrogant British officer.

Jim Broadbent horrifies as the callous estate owner Lord Kilmichael, who longs for a day when ‘a Celtic Irishman in Ireland will be as rare a sight as a Red Indian in Manhattan’. Stephen Rea, Barry Keoghan, Moe Dunford, and Sarah Greene also feature in the incredibly talented cast of this raw, Western-style brutal insight into the horrors of a rarely dramatized period in Irish history, by the end of which one in four of the population was either ‘dead or fled’’.

Stunningly bleak, grey toned cinematography by Declan Quinn and an evocative score from Brian Byrne emphasise the horrific realities of the famine and Feeney’s revenge mission.

Images courtesy of ALTITUDE FILMS