Sunday, 30 October 2011

Route Irish

Route Irish is not a great film but provides an insight into the development of entrepreneurial organisations some who work clandestine in winning and working contracts in war torn countries. Le CarrĂ©’s Mission song which I am presently reading covers similar subject.

Route Irish is a Ken Loach directed film set in Iraq and Liverpool. Philip French in the Observer describes the film as covering a number of Ken Loach themes, the brutality of war, the exploitation of the indigenous population by national government and” rescuing invaders alike, state sanctioned ‘crimes.’

It is good that there are films of this nature to educate the weekend teenage and youmg people audience into a greater sense of reality and helping to fuel movements which counter balance the excess which states will indulge unless there are brakes applied from within as well as without.

As I age and reflect I more and more understand the nature of global capitalist economy. Faced with threats which undermine the security of an individual democratic nation I appreciate the necessity of measures being taken which in other circumstance would be judged crimes but if knowingly sanctioned cannot and should be regarded as crimes. They are only crimes when not sanctioned. The problem is that Ministers sometimes fail to separate Party political interests from those of their individual nation or that of the maintaining their personal position and power. Who Guards the Guardians must be constant cry?

This film is about the growing tendency of Government to employ agents at arms length, some under open contract and others secretly in order that if things go wrong, especially fi the agenst are to act outside the law or abroad in situations where the government’s role is being challenged or not made public

For the film has more personal themes such as the bond which develop betweens those who experience intense working situations over prolonged periods and that prolonged involvement in some activities corrupt and undermine the integrity of the strongest and purest of souls the recent theme of Spooks and which cause individuals to blur the actual differences between different political and religious run states to cause them to change sides.

The story is seen through eyes of Fergus Molloy and Irish rooted Liverpuddlian who with his lifelong friend Frankie (John Bishop) have become security mercenaries after doing terms with the military special services. Frankie is married to Rachel who is the only thing which Fergus has not shared with Frankie although he has wanted her but kept his distance. This includes sharing a female bar owner in Spain on R and R breaks from their tour in Iraq where they protect company employees carrying work on contracts. Fergus moved on to Afghanistan while Frankie continued in Iraq where he is reported killed in a roadside vehicle explosion and his body is returned to Liverpool for service and cremation.

Before the death Fergus comes home to Liverpool but goes on a bender and gets locked up and misses a series of phone calls from his best friend which haunts him now he is dead. He is also puzzled because his friend was the cautious one. He attends the funeral and through the man’s widow attends the briefing from the employers about what happened. The family are not pleased with his presence because they blame him for getting involved in the lucrative but dangerous work. They do not understand his questions to the representatives.

The woman, the friend from Spain, has received a package from Frankie which she passes to Fergus and on it there is an email in Arabic and a video. It is of the shooting of a young family including two boys. Fergus uses an Arabic contact to gain a translation and he also makes inquiries with his contact in the country to establish the official reports of the incident. There is no record.

Things begin to happen as the home of the wife and that of Fergus is trashed in the search for the videoed evidence. The Arabic speaking friend is badly beaten requiring hospital treatment and care.

The story which emerges is that the taxi was in the wrong place at the wrong time and failed to stop and a trigger happy member of the security cover had opened fire. The matter had been covered up with continuing action because the firm had entered a new major contract to help in the reconstruction of a county which they feared this would be lost if the unintentional slaughter of civilian children had become public.

Frankie’s wife and Fergus work together and develop the physical closeness he had longed to desire. But he is driven to settle the debt he feels due to his friend. He had opened the coffin before burial to see the remains as part of establishing how the friend had died. The man’s ashes had been had been smashed in the ceramic container which the wife had in her room.

He reaches the conclusion that the man had been intentionally targeted not by insurgents but by the firm because guilt had driven him to start telling people about what had happened. The man believed to have been responsible was working in Afghanistan but comes to the UK for the “clean up operation.” He is captured and tortured by Fergus but at first he denies any involvement saying that he was on his way to Afghanistan when Frankie’s death occurred, but then under more torture he confesses. Fergus feels there is closure, for himself and the man’s wife, and begins to look for a future for them together. However he is then shattered to receive confirmation that his victim was telling the truth and was not in Iraq when Frankie was assassinated.

There were several things not clear to me through out the film or which I cannot now remember not have made notes at the time of viewing, I therefore do not know if he established through a bugging device that the Managing Director and lead recruiter of the firm undertook the killing directly or had someone else do it for them. They exit a building together and another employee a young woman accompanies them at the last moment. As they enter the vehicle they notice a note on the dash board which says wrong time wrong place, the words they had used to the family to explain the death of Frankie. At that point the vehicle explodes as a bomb detonates.

Frankie has explained to the widow who has become his lover that he has to go away and they will not have further contact which she does not understand. In the closing moment of the film Fergus is on one of the Merseyside Ferries. He slips quietly overboard and disappears.

PS Route Irish is the name given to road leading to airport in Bagdad.

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