Made by Granada Television for ITV, Bloody Sunday is the film that got director Paul Greengrass the Bourne Supremacy gig, and subsequently propelled the filmmaker into the big leagues. And the documentarian style he's since become renowned for is evident as far back as here, in his retelling of Ireland's 1972 Bloody Sunday massacre; the closest cousin to Bloody Sunday would be United 93, or Greengrass' recent Captain Philips. Because the director is beholden to the facts here too, stepping out of the way and allowing you, the viewer, to make your own moral assertions. Greengrass' neutrality is something that's brought him criticism in the past, but the director is just telling the story from what knowledge he's gathered - here, he's a documentary-maker who's just happened to make the leap to fiction, using his background in journalism as a way to achieve his desired verisimilitude. Bloody Sunday puts you into the heat of the battle, in one that doesn't feel like a battle at all - it's a series of bloody incidents that appear to escalate from nowhere. But the realism isn't why Bloody Sunday stands out among Greengrass' impressive filmography - by being a tragedy about ordinary, desperate people, and by featuring a never-better performance from James Nesbitt as a real-life Northern Irish politician, Bloody Sunday remains Greengrass' most emotionally devastating film.
Lover of film, writer of words, pretentious beyond belief. Thinks Scorsese and Kubrick are the kings of cinema, but PT Anderson and David Fincher are the dashing young princes. Follow Brogan on twitter if you can take shameless self-promotion: @BroganMorris1