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  • Colin Fraser


THREE STARS Two political foes are forced to face each other, and themselves, in the back of a car.


Shortly before Tony Blair secured a peace accord in Northern Ireland, two old warhorses of the troubles – Rev Iain Paisley for the Unionists and Sean McGuinness for Sinn Féin – unexpectedly found themselves sitting next to each other in the back of a car. THE JOURNEY imagines how a conversation between men who publicly and privately despised one another, would go. In truth, it must have gone quite well because shortly afterwards Paisley became First Minister with McGuinness there as his right hand man. Director Nick Hamm places theatrical warhorses Timothy Spall and Colm Meaney in the back seat and is rewarded by two energetic performances, with Freddie Highmore and the late John Hurt in fine support. But what we gain in star power we loose in a loose script whose wavering tone jumps between earnest, pleading and playful – it’s an awkward combination that tragic newsreel footage can’t bring back to an appropriate place, particularly as Hamm keeps on taking us into too-cute odd-couple territory. Unfortunate since this is the films weakest link, and especially so when the real story lies in the relationship between droll Meany and fire-n-brimstone Spall.

Currently screening as part of the British Film Festival

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