Michael Collins

Director: Neil Jordan

A long-cherished project, with first script drafts going back to the early 1980s, Jordan’s ninth film testifies to his stamina and commitment to the topic. It had the distinction of becoming a national event both in terms of its production when thousands of people turned up as extras for the crowd scenes, and its subsequent popularity at the Irish box office. While this may indicate an interest in the political legacy of the period, it was not unconnected to the concurrent Northern Ireland Peace Process, with the parallels being drawn between the ‘historical’ period and the present. In following the events from 1916 to 1922, culminating in Michael Collins’ death, the relationships between Collins (Liam Neeson), Harry Boland (Aidan Quinn) and Kitty Kiernan (Julia Roberts) often take precedence over the political/military events, most notably when killings such as those by the Twelve Apostles and Collins own death, are intercut with the love affair between Kitty and Collins. Alan Rickman’s uncanny depiction of a villainous Eamon de Valera was perhaps the film’s most controversial representation.
U.S.A., 1996. Colour. Dolby digital stereo. 132 mins.

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