Silent Grace


Reviewed by: Darren Amner

This is the story of a woman's involvement in the notorious protest strikes that took place in Northern Ireland in the Eighties. The British government had withdrawn political status from Republican prisoners and labeled them criminals. In response, they staged what was known as a "dirty protest," which included smearing excrement on cell walls and not washing, which later escalated into a hunger strike.

Set in Armagh women's prison, Aine (Cathleen Bradley) is a rebel-without-a-cause type, an outspoken wild child, who comes complete with obligatory black leather jacket. She is thrown into a cell with the highest-ranking Republican prisoner, Eileen (Orla Brady), who helps save her sanity. Later, in a dramatic turn of events, Aine helps save Eileen's life.

A PoW movie from a woman's point of view is certainly a change. It's an interesting story about an unshakeable bond between two very different people. Writer/director Maeve Murphy keeps the pace tight and crisp, driven by well-developed characters and strong performances from her leads.

Silent Grace is a subtle and sensitive exploration of humane resistance to inhumane treatment and seriously depicts brutal events under horrific conditions in a quiet restrained manner. Eileen believes in what she is trying to do, even if it means dying for the cause.

The film is shot in an authentic manner, the cinematography bleak and dark, much like its setting - Moulin Rouge this is not. My main criticism is that nothing really happens to hold the audience's attention. The performances are excellent, but this is a movie that could have used more dramatic scenes to put across the struggle and prove a point.

Silent Grace deserves to be seen by those willing to watch strong determined females go to extremes for what they believe and who like their movies character-driven rather than plot-centric.

Reviewed on: 30 Mar 2005
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PoW movie from a women's perspective, tracking dirty protests in the 1980s.
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Director: Maeve Murphy

Writer: Maeve Murphy

Starring: Orla Brady, Cathleen Bradley, Cara Seymour, Patrick Bergin, Dawn Bradfield, Conor Mullen, Michael Liebman, Rob Newman

Year: 2001

Runtime: 87 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: Ireland


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