MICHAEL COLLINS (1996)
||Liam Neeson, Aidan Quinn, Julia
Roberts, Alan Rickman, Stephen Rea
||Redmond Morris, Stephen Woolley
|Approximate Running Time:
Drama/ Real Life/History
The Plot: Michael Collins (Liam Neeson) was an Irishman
who wanted Ireland to be free of British rule at the beginning
of the 20th century. For years, he worked incognito behind the
scenes, organizing attacks on the British. Finally after many
years of bloodshed, he bought the British Empire to their knees
and had to come forward to negotiate the terms of Irelands freedom.
However, the compromise reached was not entirely what his allies
envisioned, and his members of his own party turned against him.
Comment: Neil Jordan has done a magnificent job of bringing
the life of Michael Collins to the big screen. One is swept up
in the grandeur of the vision Collins must have held for a free
Ireland. It is a story of intrigue, political maneuverings, incredible
violence and stubbornness. Why the British have held on so tenaciously
to Ireland is bit of a mystery in modern times (particularly as
they seemed to so willingly give up India and Hong Kong...), but
this film provides some insight into how the Irish felt about
Liam Neeson delivers an incredible performance as the single-minded
Michael Collins. Neeson's interpretation portrays the conflicts
Collins as a man who does not like or want unnecessary violence
and only delivers out of necessity - how else do you get the attention
of the 'blind' British? Every agonizing decision to kill key players
and the lives lost on his won side are echoed in Neeson's face.
Aiden Quinn and Julia Roberts do their best to deliver their
lines in passable mild Irish accents, with only occasional lapses.
This in itself is admirable as the thick Irish accent isn't one
the easiest to mimic! Alan Rickman is an enigmatic in the film
as his character, Eoman De Valera. What must have been going through
De Valera's mind when the time for negotiations came? If nothing
else, the film does make you curious about the man who went on
to become President of Ireland when true independence was achieved
several decades later.
Michael Collins is a long, dark but fascinating look into the
life of one of Ireland's key figures in history. The start is
a bit slow, but perseverance reveals an illuminating film sympathetic
to the Irish and Collins' cause. A must see for anyone who wonders
why the violence continues in Northern Ireland to this day.