132 minutes, U.K.-Ireland-U.S.A., 1996, Colour, 35mm

Jordan’s national creation myth was always going to be controversial, but at heart it plays out on a historic scale the personal conflict seen in Angel – once you pick up a gun, even with good reason, it’s difficult to put it down again.

Liam Neeson’s intelligently calibrated performance captures the seductive charisma of Collins and his self-doubt, while Jordan’s direction brings startling ferocity to the guerrilla warfare.

Yes, Julia Roberts is too strong a presence for her subsidiary romantic role, but she brought studio financing to a movie which never settles for the easy answers of many a Hollywood epic.

Showing as part of our Neil Jordan Retrospective which runs throughout May. His new film, Byzantium, opens on May 31st.

See our online exhibition of some of Neil Jordan’s substantial document collections held by the IFI Irish Film Archive.

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