A Belfast Story

Guest writer Thomas Dixie Elliot with his review of the film A Belfast Story.

From the first sight of Colm Meaney, the soon to retire detective (Aw no, not that old one) in Columbo's raincoat spotting the clues, I knew I had to see if it got much worse.

And I wasn't disappointed...

The badges on the uniforms of the 'Northern Ireland Police Service' brought back memories of Captain Scarlet. Every movie cliché was thrown in and of course you wondered a lot.

How the fuck I wondered could masked men with guns drive round Belfast without someone, anyone shouting...'Fuck me masked men with guns! every two minutes. In fact I reckon those two wore their masks to bed.

Somebody was killing former IRA men and we didn't know who of course because they wore masks all the bloody time.

The IRA fixer was another cliché and I loved the part were two half wits wanted to mug him for 'his nice jacket'. Would you believe it if I said it was a combat jacket?

One Clint Eastwood draw of a revolver and the boyos are off to search the bins for a better looking coat. 'Ah bloody peace', says the fixer, 'this city used to be too hard for the likes of them.'

I know - I know.

The Watchers who watched Loyalists areas made me wonder what they were watching for given that nowadays loyalists are more than likely to be found in the company of Shinners. One Watcher watched because... 'It might be a few years since everything went quiet but I'm staying vigilant.'

Did I say that there was a First and only Minister? Oh aye. Marty, Gerry and the other Gerry all rolled into one.

Just as I was thinking to myself that this film is set in the Ireland of Father's Ted and Dougal and who should pop up but Da from Give my Head Peace as a mad former IRA bomber.

Then after it turned out that Ma has married Colm Meaney's Columbo - she must have finally left Da - I just thought to myself...

Ah feck no, those two masked boyos just couldn't be Uncle Andy and Big Mervyn...


  1. deffo giving that a miss, sounds like 'Adams in wonderland' land. Seriously no basis in fact. Hate those bloody 'films'. Does the NIO fund that shite too?

  2. Are there any films about the conflict that are any good?

  3. It was a strangely hollow film, with quite a sinister (or instructive) ending, without spoiling it the killers are shown to be morally correct and that they (to paraphrase) preferred the certainty of knowing the bad guys in war, to having the uncertainty of ex-Volunteers sitting in Stormont in peace. The ‘Adams/McGuiness’ First Minister is actually advocated to be a good target within the film too.
    There are some amazing stories that could be dramatized from the Troubles,like the Stakeknife affair or Captain Nairac’s adventures (John Francis Greens killing/ Miami Showband massacre/him singing Danny Boy interspersed with images of his final moments) to name just two.

  4. Life imitating art?

    A Belfast Story?

    Someone picked up on the message of this film.

  5. Sorry to double post, see for yourself , the video is now hosted for free on youtube :

    A Belfast Story (youtube)