I have been a bit of a fan of the work of Ken Loach for a while now, ever since I saw Kes (made in 1969, but I saw it much later) and more recently Looking for Eric (2009). This one, although still good, failed to quite hit the mark (for me). There were several aspects of it that seemed incomplete. I'll tell you more after this very brief summary.
Whilst working for a security firm in Iraq, in 2007, Frankie is killed. His best friend, Fergus, is devastated and feels there is something not quite right about the circumstances of his death. A former mercenary himself, he begins his own investigation. Enlisting the help of Frankie's widow, Rachel, and an Iraqi musician, Harim, he begins to piece together the events leading up to Frankie's death. I won't say any more or the Spoiler Police will be shooting at that taxi I'll be taking home on Thursday night. Oh, I should also mention, just for completeness, that 'Route Irish' is the code name used for the route between Baghdad Airport and the Green Zone.
Set in Liverpool and with an extremely gritty edge to it, there are no punches pulled in this realistic drama. Of course budget constraints mean most of the action has to take place in the UK, but there is a fair bit of archive footage of events in Iraq at the time to fill the gap. Be warned though, some of it is quite graphic. As far as performances go, well, both Mark Womack as Fergus and Andrea Lowe as Rachel were excellent. A lot of the dialogue is ad-libbed and I thought they both did an excellent job! John Bishop, better known as a comedian here in the UK, plays Frankie (in flashback) and he did a pretty good job too. I thought Talib Rasool as Harim was very good as well.
Over all, it just failed to hit the mark. I think I found the ending a bit of a let-down but sadly I cannot talk about it here. It did have its good points though and I did find it quite enthralling up to a point, but it was a little too long for me. It's a shame because I really wanted to like this one, but then you can't have everything I suppose. I will still deem it worthy of a viewing, but be warned of a lot of swearing and some graphic content.
My Score: 6.4/10.
IMDb Score: 6.3/10 (based on 1,051 votes at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 73/100 (based on 26 reviews counted at the time of going to press).