As a filmmaker, Kenneth Branagh zips between a few different modes – from lavish fantasy blockbusters (Thor and, er, Artemis Fowl) to Shakespearean fare (Hamlet, Much Ado, and his recent surprise movie All Is True), to starry thrillers (Murder On The Orient Express, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit). But his latest film, Belfast, looks to be something different. For one, it’s a personal story, not just directed but also written by Branagh, which looks to be somewhat based on his own upbringing (yes, Kenneth Branagh is Irish). Plus it’s a coming-of-age story, looking back at the Belfast of the ‘60s through the lens of young boy Buddy (newcomer Jude Hill), predominantly shot in crisp monochrome. It doesn’t really fit any of the above categories, but it does look pretty wonderful – so have a watch of the trailer here:
Branagh has pulled together quite the ensemble for this one – boasting Judi Dench, Jamie Dornan, Caitriona Balfe, Colin Morgan and Ciaran Hinds among the cast. And while it’s a black-and-white drama partially about the rise of the Troubles, it doesn’t look like an overly dark or dour watch – there’s a warmth, vitality and vibrancy to the trailer that’s refreshing, even if there’s sure to be some heavier stuff in there. Here’s the official synopsis: “From lauded director Kenneth Branagh, and starring an acclaimed ensemble cast, Belfast is a personal and joyful story about the power of memory, set in late 1960s Northern Ireland. At the centre of the film is Buddy, a young boy on the cusp of adolescence, whose life is filled with familial love, childhood hijinks, and a blossoming romance. Yet, with his beloved hometown caught up in increasing turmoil, his family faces a momentous choice: hope the conflict will pass or leave everything they know behind for a new life.”
In all, it seems to be a love-letter to Branagh’s hometown, set against the backdrop of its tumultuous history, but filled with humanity – almost like Sir Ken does Roma. We’ll find out if it lives up to that notion – and this trailer – when it comes to UK cinemas from 12 November.