“Belfast” (2021) Starring Jamie Dornan, Jude Hill, Caitriona Balfe, Judi Dench, Ciarán Hinds. Written and directed by Kenneth Branagh. It is inescapable to view Kenneth Branagh’s “Belfast” without recognizing that this current King of Unnecessary Remakes is attempting his Irish version of John Boorman’s remarkable “Hope and Glory”, merely substituting The Troubles for The Blitz. The film stars Jude Hill as Buddy, the nine-year-old youngest son of an Ulster Protestant family and he has the kind of freckled toothy face that the camera adores and director Branagh never lets you forget that for a single moment. If Boorman cleverly used the protective fantasy of adventurism buoyed by childhood innocence as a clever allegory for the irrational but miraculous resilience of Londoners through years of Nazi bombings, Branagh is content to limit his characters to expulsions of treacle embracing the most sentimental movie-fed cliches, bizarrely mixed with a fascination for trashy popular culture.
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