Why ‘The Journey’ Offers Hope for Our Troubled Times

The Troubles. It’s an unassuming, and almost romantic, term for the Irish civil war generally thought to be between Catholics and Protestants.

To be truthful, it has its roots far deeper in political and nationalistic beliefs.

Since we’re closing in on 20 years since the cease in hostilities, it seems this long war has faded from public memory. That’s especially true given the rise of new and more horrific acts of terrorism.

Enter “The Journey,” a film about a formal meeting between the two principle groups involved in The Troubles and how a trip away from all the diplomats and formalities may have brought about a lasting peace.

The Journey - Official Trailer I HD I IFC Films

Democratic Unionist Party leader Ian Paisley (Timothy Spall) and Sinn Fein politician Martin McGuinness (Colm Meaney) are set to begin negotiations to finalize a peace that will end hostilities between both sides.

A personal trip for Paisley necessitates that both men take a fairly short trek. What follows is a fantastic, intimate tale of two men entrenched in their dislike for each other while finding common ground and a begrudging respect.

Frankly, we haven’t had this solid a personal film involving two people since “Hard Candy.” That film is a personal favorite in the thriller genre, and “The Journey” has quickly won itself a similar status in the drama category.

FAST FACT: Timothy Spall credits a teen gig playing the Cowardly Lion in “The Wizard of Oz” for sparking his passion for acting.

The performances by Meaney and Spall are unparalleled and will make you forget about their respective previous roles of Chief O’Brien in “Star Trek” and Wormtail in the “Harry Potter” franchise.

Since both roles are firmly ingrained in pop culture, this is no small feat.

The fact that director Nick Hamm knew well enough to set the cameras in the right place and let these men go to work is nothing short of brilliant.

In a time where it seems that political and ideological divides grow getting deeper and wider, a film like “The Journey” is a welcome respite.

It’s hard to suggest one film, no matter how good, could change the world. “The Journey” inspires hope that one day political and ideological enemies could sit down and find what they have in common as opposed to working to only stockpile power.

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