Loach Takes Well-Aimed Shot at Establishment; It Wasn't Only Soldiers Carrying Arms in Iraq. Director Ken Loach Tells DAVID WHETSTONE about New Film Route Irish and His Disgust at the "Privatisation of War"

The Journal (Newcastle, England), March 17, 2011 | Go to article overview

Loach Takes Well-Aimed Shot at Establishment; It Wasn't Only Soldiers Carrying Arms in Iraq. Director Ken Loach Tells DAVID WHETSTONE about New Film Route Irish and His Disgust at the "Privatisation of War"


Byline: DAVID WHETSTONE

KEN Loach is a courteous, mild-mannered man who is renowned for getting under the skin of the Establishment. He set out his stall in 1966 with Cathy Come Home, a TV drama documentary about homelessness which many credited with getting the law changed.

He, typically, has said that while it may have helped, others were better placed to take the credit.

In 1977 he turned down an OBE and in the mid-1990s he exited the Labour Party ahead of Tony Blair's new broom.

He has had films banned on television and has steadfastly opposed the State of Israel because of its policy towards the Palestinians.

Many of his feature films highlight serious political issues and Route Irish, his latest, is no exception. It takes us to Iraq and the questionable role of the private security firms who provide armed escorts for visiting VIPs.

The main character is Fergus, a Liverpudlian who was in the SAS but until recently has been working for one such firm.

We meet him bitterly mourning the death of boyhood buddy Frankie who has been killed on Route Irish, the road leading from Baghdad Airport to the fortress known as the Green Zone and reputedly the most dangerous in the world.

It was Fergus who urged Frankie to sign up, extolling the virtues of pounds 10,000 a month, tax-free, for the privilege of dodging bullets and roadside bombs. Now he's dead and Fergus isn't about to swallow the explanation of his employers: wrong place, wrong time.

Route Irish packs a real punch. Blending news footage, some which you'll recognise, with drama, it tells an unsettling tale.

In the country that the West invaded to liberate, we learn that many from the West are now on the make.

Through the Loach viewfinder, it's hard to imagine the inhabitants of Baghdad feel safer now - although this story is set in 2007, before British and American combat troops departed.

In Newcastle to introduce the film at the Tyneside Cinema, Loach, an outspoken critic of the invasion of Iraq, agrees that he had been itching to make a film such as this.

"It was such a catastrophic and criminal act that it was beyond belief really," he says softly. "You wouldn't have thought a Labour Prime Minister could do such a thing until Blair came along.

"It seemed too obvious to make a film that just pointed out the illegality and criminality of it - but then the private contractors came in."

Citing the work of bestselling author Naomi Klein, who has written critically about Iraq, he says: "The war was fought on behalf of the big western corporations. Naomi Klein talks about re-writing the economy of Iraq and that was what they (the Americans and British) wanted to do in the interest of western capital - to protect the oil and maintain a strategic interest in that part of the world.

"They pulled the troops out, but now they're back there making money."

This could make a good documentary, but Loach says the real starting point for his film was when screenwriter Paul Laverty, a longtime collaborator, came up with the story of Fergus and Frankie, pals since childhood.

Laverty lives in Madrid, Loach in Bath. They text each other about football - Loach is a Bath City fan while Laverty supports Celtic - and occasionally, says Loach, about work.

"Paul will do a first draft and we'll talk about it. I'll make some suggestions and everything flows from that. It can go to as many as 12 or 15 drafts."

Loach has always striven for realism in his films, mixing actors with non-actors drawn from the community in which filming is taking place.

In one powerful scene in Route Irish, a character learns that he has killed the wrong man in an act of vengeance. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Loach Takes Well-Aimed Shot at Establishment; It Wasn't Only Soldiers Carrying Arms in Iraq. Director Ken Loach Tells DAVID WHETSTONE about New Film Route Irish and His Disgust at the "Privatisation of War"
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.