The Journey Movie Review

This is an incredibly fascinating film.  It’s about the past without showing too much of it visually.  Their past is that the Catholics want Northern Ireland to be independent of England and the Protestants approve of England ruling over them.  The war that has been going on has caused many deaths due to bullets flying by and bombs going off.  Even children aren’t immune to the carnage.  Times have changed and the new Prime Minister of England Tony Blair (Stephens), wants to work to end this fight once and for all.

The Journey stars Colm Meaney, as former Irish Republican Army (IRA) leader, Martin McGuinness, who plays the role of the Protestant.  Meaney has worked in the film business since 1981 and in television before and since.  He has 117 acting credits which is quite a feat.  You’ve seen him in such films as The Dead, Far and Away, The last of the Mohicans and Layer Cake among others.  The man opposite him, playing the profoundly conservative British loyalist or Catholic, Ian Paisley, is Timothy Spall.  Spall started work in the entertainment business at virtually the same time as Meaney.  He has a few more credits than Meaney has though you may recognize him most for his work as Peter Pettigrew in the Harry Potter franchise.  He has worked in films such as The Missionary, Love’s Labour’s Lost, A Series of Unfortunate Events and did voice work in Chicken Run and Alice Through the Looking Glass to name a few. 

These two people primarily carry the entire film without dropping character once.  The Journey is a story of two strong-headed men who have been keeping a civil war going on now for almost forty years. 

When they were younger, they were called as The Troubles; now they are referred to as politicians.  It’s 2006 and time to engage in what comes to be known as the Northern Ireland peace talks.  Maybe this war for Northern Ireland can end and if so, these two men are a big part of making that happen smoothly; if it can happen at all.  Getting them in the same room together is hard enough but, ‘talking’, as well?!?  That’s a ludicrous notion but it’s worth a try.  These two could continue a war or end it with just a simple handshake.  What happens once they’re in the limo together, however, is quite riveting indeed.

All of the performances in The Journey are outstanding but these two stood out because they were such a big part of the script.  I’d guess that at least ¾ of the film is just these two talking but don’t let this scare you away.  They’re so good that the dialogue they speak, how they’re delivering it and the information they’re serving you will have you feeling as if you had just been in an entertaining lecture.  It was mastery the way the story of these two men unfolded and I’m here to be a voice for a film that I might not have noticed by just the title.  I don’t want you to miss it.  Don’t be frightened by the fact that they are alone most of the excursion.  They’re absorbing and move everything forward with skill and precision.  I’m not certain, had the roles gone to other actors that it would have turned out as good, to be honest. 

Looking at the work they’ve done in the past might give you a sense of how good they are in this and thusly how good the movie will be.  If you like history, as I do, I’ll ask you to trust me about this and be sure not to miss this well-crafted gem.  Some history buffs may not appreciate exactly how the two characters get together because they weren’t going for historical accuracy but that aside, how their relationship unfolds is of little consequence when put next to the larger picture of the ultimate prize.  I don’t want to say what happens in the end in case you don’t know but do watch the credits for pictures of the real Martin and Ian.

Miss Sloane

From “Shakespeare in Love” director, John Madden, comes “Miss Sloane”, a furiously clever film that has today’s politics in mind but is not its only theme.  It’s the story of a very efficient and skilled, nay cutthroat, lobbyist, Elizabeth Sloane, played by Jessica Chastain, who takes no prisoners when she wants to win for a client, putting any and everything in peril, including friendships, to do so.  One thing the film does more than anything, especially at a time when the country seems to really need it, is make it clear to a filmgoer exactly what a lobbyist does.  Let’s start with the definition of a lobbyist; one who engages in “lobbying”; trying to influence public officials to support a position on legislation.  It’s fairly obvious where the term may have derived from which is from these particular individuals waiting in the lobby outside a public official’s office.  Yes.  A story about a lobbyist just became compelling

Screenwriter Jonathan Perera penned such a monumental script that Madden had to direct and knew right away who to cast.  It’s so intense that he knew the very diverse Chastain had to be in the lead role.  He had been searching for the right project for her and this was it.  Of her as Sloane he told me, ‘Okay, now we have it!’  You’ll agree when you see her transformative performance; the best I’ve seen from her to date. 

This will most likely be considered a political thriller as it centers on the D.C. lives of lawyers and lobbyists but it’s much more.  Sloane is a master manipulator and at the heart of this movie is the ambition within her to win at any cost.  This cold, hard woman who could be placed in any position, anywhere; who would have any ruler at her feet, doesn’t have to be pegged into a certain hole nor does the film.  It’s a thriller, plain and simple and you get to see Chastain work both ends of the spectrum.  I’ll let you discover that on your own.  There is so much I want to tell you but I refuse to spoil it all the same.

“Chastain will get an Oscar nod.  Her character is brilliant and her performance is, possibly, twice as good as the film.”
Shari K. Green

Sr. Film Writer and Community Manager,

Madden’s cast is exceptional.  Chastain will get an Oscar nod.  Her character is brilliant and her performance is, possibly, twice as good as the film as she goes deep to find this steely woman inside of her.  Perhaps some of the tedious language of the political rhetoric in the film would have you thinking you’d rather skip this movie.  Don’t make that mistake.  A lobbyist advocating for or against gun control may be a point in the film; it’s no way the main topic but rather a catalyst to move Miss Sloane forward.  The pacing of the movie is such that you’re always consumed, helped by Madden’s foresight to capture you further with the perfectly chosen music so make “Miss Sloane” your choice this weekend at the theatre… no waiting until Netflix for this one.  

Miss Sloane Advance Screening

In the high-stakes world of political power-brokers, Elizabeth Sloane (Jessica Chastain) is the most sought after and formidable lobbyist in D.C. Known equally for her cunning and her track record of success, she has always done whatever is required to win. But when she takes on the most powerful opponent of her career, she finds that winning may come at too high a price.

Find your chance to receive special advance movie screening passes below. 

Phoenix, Arizona

Date: Tuesday, December 6
Location: Harkins Tempe Marketplace
Time: 7:00pm

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Las Vegas, Nevada

Date: Tuesday, December 6
Location: AMC Town Square
Time: 7:00pm

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