Who’s up for a bloody reexamination of the darkest era in Irish history? Okay, so “reexamination” might make Black ‘47 sound a little bit more cerebral than it truly ends up being, but at the very least, the first trailer for the historical Irish action-drama looks chock full of intensity. Intensity and guts.
Starring Hugo Weaving, Jim Broadbent and James Frecheville, Black ‘47 takes place during the infamous Great Famine in Ireland, which took place between 1845-1849, but reached its height during 1847. Frecheville plays an Irish soldier who returns from a foreign war, only to find his country floundering under apathetic British rule. He then embarks on a mission of vengeance, with obvious parallels to the likes of films such as First Blood or John Wick. Here’s your complete synopsis.
It’s 1847 and Ireland is in the grip of the Great Famine that has ravaged the country for two long years. Feeney, a hardened Irish Ranger who has been fighting for the British Army abroad, abandons his post to return home and re-unite with his estranged family. He’s seen more than his share of horrors but nothing prepares him for the famine’s hopeless destruction of his homeland. He discovers his mother starved to death and his brother hanged by the brutal hand of the English. With little else to live for, he sets on a destructive path to avenge his family, systematically working his way up the political and social hierarchy of 19th Century Ireland. Hannah, an ageing British soldier and famed tracker of deserters, is sent to stop Feeney before he can further stoke the fires of revolution. But Hannah and Feeney are old army comrades with a mutual respect forged by their times fighting together. Personal bonds and shifting allegiances cause both men to question their motives, as they are tested to the limit by the hellish landscape of “the Great Hunger”.
Weaving, he of The Matrix fame, plays Hannah the grizzled army veteran, tasked with bringing Frecheville’s character to justice. Looking at the trailer below, you can get a good sense of the uneasy respect between the two characters, and the lingering implication of violence just around the corner in each of their confrontations.
Black ‘47 opened earlier this month in Ireland and has already been a considerable success, with the biggest box office opening weekend in that country since 2015’s Brooklyn, which won a Best Actress Oscar for Saoirse Ronan. In the U.S., it opens in limited release next week, on Sept. 28, courtesy of IFC Films. Check out the mud and dirt-crusted trailer below.