Meticulously re-enacting the tragic events of January 30, 1972 in Derry, Ireland, this film first follows the efforts of MP Ivan Cooper (Nesbitt) to organize a peaceful protest for Catholics against oppressive British policies. The confusion and conflict attending the actual march leads to the murder of unarmed protesters by British troops, under the command of the rigid General Ford (Pigott-Smith) who wants "to teach these people a lesson." The lesson learned is quite different from the one he intended.
The riot and ensuing slaughter known as "Bloody Sunday" is recreated to powerful effect in this film, shot in pseudo-documentary style by Paul Greengrass. The film unfolds virtually in real-time, so the viewer gets the chilling sense that something very wrong is soon to happen. This does not make the eventual confrontation any easier to watch. While not for the faint of heart, "Bloody Sunday" serves as both a highly visceral shocker and edifying political drama. As horrendous as this "Sunday" was, it should not be forgotten.