A Terrible Beauty offers a fresh approach to the Easter Rising, mixing archive footage with dramatic reconstructions and eyewitness accounts to tell the little-known stories of ordinary soldiers on both sides.
Focusing on two areas of fierce fighting: North King Street on the north side of the Liffey and, to the south, Mount Street Bridge, the film captures the fear, confusion and tactical blunders as well as the bravery of the combatants. It follows ordinary soldiers like the Shouldice brothers, Frank and Jack, holed up around the Jameson Malt House, and Lieutenant Arthur Dickson (Hugh O’Conor) of the Sherwood Foresters; a young officer expecting to be sent to France who found himself marching up Northumberland Road.
Writer/director Keith Farrell (Saving the Titanic, JDIFF 2012) builds the tension as British troops converge on the Volunteer strongholds and, as the battle scenes are compellingly restaged, the human cost of the conflict emerges. Moving, balanced and meticulously researched, A Terrible Beauty restores the ordinary soldier to the heart of the story.
Alistair Daniel, Jameson Dublin International Film Festival