Route Irish (15)
Despite the Iraqi conflict remaining a contentious issue, it has been largely avoided by the film industry.
Leaving aside the commercially viable, but rather guarded and self-aggrandising American viewpoint shown in Hurt Locker and Green Zone, few have chosen to tackle the tougher, politically volatile issues.
Issues such as those explored in Route Irish, the name given to the most dangerous road in the world, as Fergus (Womack) discovers when his childhood friend Frankie (Bishop) is killed in an explosion near Baghdad.
Director Ken Loach (read interview with him here) crafts an astute and gripping conspiracy thriller around Womack's brilliantly naturalistic performance as a battle-hardened, private security contractor, attempting to uncover the truth behind his best friend's death.
Set against the relevant, yet largely ignored controversies of post-traumatic stress, privatisation of war, and the harrowing untold story of the Iraqi people caught in the conflict, Route Irish is one of Loach's most accessible and important films to date.
Mark Womack, Andrea Lowe, John Bishop