Roger Allam as Henry Stanfield in The Truth Commissioner © Big Fish Films, 2016

The Truth Commissioner

The Truth Commissioner is a political thriller adapted for screen by Declan Recks, based on the 2008 novel of the same name by David Park.

Roger Allam plays Henry Stanfield, a career diplomat who has just been appointed ‘Truth Commissioner’ to Northern Ireland, a position modelled on South Africa’s ‘Truth and Reconciliation Commission’. Set after The Troubles- the Northern Ireland conflict which was deemed to have ended with the 1998 Good Friday Agreement- Stanfield is charged with leading an inquiry into the disappearance, 20 years earlier, of 15-year-old Connor Roche. The story revolves around the lives of three men who are directly or indirectly involved. Summoned to testify in the case, they are forced to face the reality of their past and how it is still impacting its victims today. The film prompts discussion: is one better off knowing the truth (is there a ‘truth’?) or is it preferable to soothe and pacify? Would (and should) there be a real truth commission be possible in Northern Ireland today?

Cast includes Sean McGinley, Tom Goodman Hill, Conleth Hill, Ian McElhinney, Madeleine Mantock, and Barry Ward, who is nominated for a Rising Star Award by the Irish Film and Television Academy.Roger Allam as Henry Stanfield in The Truth Commissioner © Big Fish Films, 2016

Filming took place at historic locations, including Londonderry’s Guildhall- the setting for the Bloody Sunday inquiry- and Belfast’s Stormont Castle, the seat of the Northern Ireland Executive.

The Truth Commissioner plays in Irish cinemas from February 26, and is available on BBC iPlayer from March 13.

Trailer || buy the book || In conversation with author David Park ||  On the set of The Truth Commissioner || BBC Arts Show: discussion and Q&A with cast and crew [transcript interview]

2 thoughts on “The Truth Commissioner

  1. And the challenge he faces in real life is exactly the same as the one he faces when he sits in the hearings of the commission; to try to assuage people with truth when there might, in fact, be shortcuts that would suit everybody better.

  2. That loaded word ‘Truth’. Is it a weapon or a balm? We were shown several uses; as blackmail, a political tool, and as a closure for grief and reconciliation on a personal level. Thank you for yet another finely-judged portrayal of a complex character. Congratulations to all concerned, especially the author, David Park.
    Grown-up TV on a Bank Holiday Saturday – whatever next?

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