|Colm Meaney as Martin McGuinness and Timothy Spall as the Reverend Ian Paisley.|
The Journey was a very poignant film about a simple car drive from the celebrated St Andrews golf course in Scotland to Edinburgh airport. Here a private plane is waiting to take an important political dignitary back to Belfast for his 50th wedding anniversary.
The political figure is the Reverend Ian Paisley. He is the head of a Loyalist (pro-British) political party in Northern Ireland. This part of Ireland has been fighting a vicious civil war for almost forty years. It is 2006 and the British Government along with Ireland’s Taoiseach government are trying to get the warring factions of the north to agree a peace settlement. If so, they could bring peace to the troubled province of Northern Ireland.
The rural St Andrews golf course is the private venue and the peace talks are deadlocked into a stalemate. Tony Blair and Enda Kenny are exhausted. Sinn Fein leaders, Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams also seem lost for a breakthrough on the peace agreement involving power-sharing. There is a desire for the re-opening of Stormont. The sticking point is the loyalist MP – the Reverend Ian Paisley. The man is a rigid and religious disciplinarian who detests the people of Sinn Fein and is very reluctant to engage in power sharing and dialogue with a group he regards as terrorists.
There is this wake of political bigotry on both sides of the argument. Then in the middle of the talks, the respective Prime Ministers of UK and Ireland have to stop the meeting for the Reverend Ian Paisley. He wants to go home and be with his wife for his 50th Wedding Anniversary. This is agreed to, but Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuiness pulls a rank of protocol matter and requests he wants to travel in the car and plane with Ian Paisley. Two protagonists on either side of a bitter and murderous conflict.
The British secret service or some other security outfit see an opportunity for a breakthrough. If Martin McGuinness can reach out to the firebrand loyalist, the political deadlock might be broken. What follows is a car journey that has monumental and historical significance. The chauffeur is bugged with cameras so that the security unit can watch the journey via a spy camera.
We have Tony Blair, Enda Kenny, Gerry Adams and Ian Paisley Junior all watching this nail-biting and at times bitter discussion between former IRA leader and a pro-British loyalist MP. A truly marvellous movie. Very gripping in parts. Also very moving too. A total must watch.