Irish helmer Lance Daly brings menace and power to a lean revenge Western that does overdue cinematic justice to famine-blighted Connemara.
Compared to other eras in Ireland’s history, there is no great wealth of contemporary Famine literature, few photographs document its excesses and even fewer films. It’s as though, through a combination of catastrophic crop failure and a deliberate program of socio-economic deprivation, people were too busy dying where they stood to bother pondering the mysteries of life.
And so this may well be the first encounter international audiences will have had with the Great Hunger, and for them Daly delivers a resonant, beautifully performed Irish Western that benefits from the exotic sound of Irish Gaelic spoken as a living language, and the brackish majesty of cinematographer Declan Quinn’s wide vistas. […] Brian Byrne’s ominous score contains some traditional uilleann pipe flourishes but avoids cliched Irishness with its brooding, disquieting anti-melodic edge of modernity.
[…] Daly’s characterful, slow-burn tale is a well-crafted experiment in grafting genre onto disregarded history. And it’s needed, because mass starvation has never really been the stuff of epic cinema, especially when there were no Braveheart-style battles for freedom here, just a million souls slowly wasting, wastefully away.
Jessica Kiang, Variety