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Troubles is a moving, extended meditation on the British presence in Ireland, in the years just prior to that country's independence in 1922. Part comedy, part tragedy, this beautifully filmed drama follows a shell-shocked Major (Ian Charleson) from the trenches of WWI to a crumbling hotel situated in the Irish countryside. In the wake of his betrothed's sudden death, the Major stays on, beguiled by the hotel's bombastic owner, Edward Spencer (Ian Richardson). Soon adopted by an eccentric gathering of staff and guests (all expertly played), the Major is rescued from his isolation, and is ultimately entranced by Ireland itself.

Although the political significance behind much of what transpires between the English and Irish characters will likely be lost on a North American audience, Troubles can still be enjoyed simply as the Major's story, as we chart his gradual transformation from embittered war veteran to lover, confidante and friend.

The British military contingent is the least sympathetic element in the film, as it is surely meant to be. This undisciplined platoon, led by Sean Bean in a minor role, sparks two of the film's dramatic crises, and confirms all our suspicions regarding the evils of colonial domination.

It seems unfair that Ian Charleson, who died in 1990, did not receive more prominent billing in the current DVD release of this superb film. By replacing his cover image with those of Ian Richardson and Sean Bean, the studio has misled the public as to who is actually the star of Troubles, and who are the supporting players.

Source: Amazon Review

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