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Saturday, October 28, 2017

Michael Collins (1996)

Starting with the Easter Rising in 1916 Ireland, Michael Collins (Liam Neeson) begins his journey from Irish revolutionary to the leader of the Irish Republican Army, a negotiator of the Anglo-Irish treaty and his eventual assassination. Written and directed by Neil Jordan (THE CRYING GAME), this is a wonderful film. I've never understood why (although it was well received) it didn't do better during the 1996 awards season while a mediocre film like THE ENGLISH PATIENT received all the attention. As with most biographical historical epics, dramatic license has been taken to cram a complex situation that took place over a 6 year period into a 2 hour timespan. The film stays fairly close to the facts while altering certain situations for a more satisfactory dramatic angle. For example, the fate of Aidan Quinn's character is fabricated. But what Jordan gives us is a compelling drama of a country in turmoil, of its own people fighting against each other instead of with each other to defeat an occupying government. The acting is strong all the way down the line with Neeson giving a potent performance in the title role. The striking cinematography by Chris Menges and terrific score by Elliot Goldenthal were both justifiably Oscar nominated. With Alan Rickman, Stephen Rea, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Charles Dance, Brendan Gleeson, Ian Hart and Julia Roberts as the romantic interest. 

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