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film review

Colm Meaney, right, & Timothy Spall in The Journey.Steffan Hill

It was a "way of life," and a "tit-for-tat" deal. We're talking about the bloody, ruthless guerrilla war of Northern Ireland, often described as the Troubles. Nick Hamm's speculative drama The Journey poses a what-if narrative involving actual peace negotiations between the political opposites Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness in 2006. The film fictionally imagines the two extremely incompatible men trapped in a van together on the long way to an airport during a break in the Scotland-set summit. An unrecognizable Timothy Spall is the elderly Paisley (a stodgy, righteous and formerly fiery British loyalist, devout Protestant minister and Democratic Unionist Party leader). Opposite him is Colm Meaney as the chattier McGuinness (the Sinn Fein head and, "allegedly," former IRA leader). The film is dialogue-heavy, easily imaginable as a two-hander for the stage, but watching the ice-thawing process between the two enemies is less compelling on screen. The bit of MI-5 chicanery behind the whole plot is a tad silly, but the sparring of Spall and Meaney is just worth the 94-minute investment (PG-13). Brad Wheeler

Writers Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani say revisiting the time Gordon was in a coma in 'The Big Sick' gave them new perspectives on the situation. Nanjiani also stars in the rom-com, which is based on their relationship.

The Canadian Press