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Route Irish
Directed by Ken Loach
Produced by Rebecca O'Brien
Written by Paul Laverty
Music by George Fenton
Cinematography Chris Menges
Editing by Jonathan Morris
  • Sixteen Films
  • France 2 Cinéma
  • Canal+
Distributed by
Release date(s) 20 May 2010 (2010-05-20)
  • United Kingdom
  • France
Language English

Route Irish is a 2010 drama-thriller film directed by Ken Loach and written by Paul Laverty. It is set in Liverpool and focuses on the consequences suffered by private security contractors after fighting in the Iraq War. The title comes from the Baghdad Airport Road, known as Route Irish. The film was selected for the main competition at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival.




Ken Loach's company Sixteen Films co-produced the film with France's Why Not Productions and Wild Bunch. It received funding from France 2 and North West Vision Media.[1] Principal shooting took place on location in Liverpool with one week of shooting in Jordan, standing in for Iraq.[2] The film reunited Loach with cinematographer Chris Menges who had worked on several of the director's films in the past, including Kes.[3] The character Craig was played by actual Iraq war veteran Craig Lundberg, whom the writer had encountered while doing research. The waterboarding scene was performed for real on actor Trevor Williams, after the results had not been satisfactory during earlier attempts at merely staging the act.[4] For being a Ken Loach film, Route Irish uses an unusually high amount of stunt scenes and pyrotechnics.[2]


Route Irish premiered on 20 May at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. According to festival general Thierry Fremaux, the film was not finished in time for the ordinary cut-off date. However, producer Rebecca O'Brien submitted it anyway as soon as it was ready, and it was accepted as a late addition only two days before the festival started.[5] Ken Loach said in an interview that the team never considered having it ready for Cannes, but when it turned out that they were ahead of the schedule the French co-producers pushed for a submission.[3]


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