Route Irish is Ken Loach’s take on the Iraq disaster.
Fergus, played by Mark Womack, is a hired killer (or “contractor” as they prefer to be called), seduced by easy money (£10,000 a month) and working for a smooth ex-army outfit fond of status objects and weekend golf.
He enlists a friend of his but this friend is killed after objecting to the murder of a family of Iraqis, a massacre of the innocents.
Loach follows Fergus’s dangerous voyage, mainly in the form of skype and mobile phone texts, to discover the facts of the murder. This is his bleakest film since Family Life in the early 1970s.
None of the characters have much benevolence, they are all edgy and only use one adjective. It might have helped if the posttraumatic stress disorder Fergus is said to suffer from was not so understated.
The plot is strong, the dialogue extraordinarily realistic and the Iraq war sequences immediate in their simplicity but there is no chink of light, only massacres, waterboarding and golf.