Irish Film Institute -International Film Directory – Film Listing

Ordinary Decent Criminal

    • Director

      Thaddeus O'Sullivan

    • Credits

      Producers: Jonathan Cavendish, Martha O'Neill

    • Principal Cast

      Kevin Spacey, Linda Fiorentino, Peter Mullan, Helen Baxendale

  • Category


The life of infamous Dublin gangster Martin Cahill had already been given the biopic treatment in John Boorman’s 1998 The General; here Thaddeus O’Sullivan turns Cahill into the fictional Michael Lynch (Kevin Spacey) and transforms the story into a piece of postmodern farce. A criminal whose skill at heists is matched by his capacity to evade the law, Lynch’s exploits win him popularity with the public and severe attention from the police. Ambition leads him to attempt the theft of a Caravaggio painting, the consequences of which include collusion with the IRA and threats to his criminal lifestyle. Much of these events have basis in reality but O’Sullivan distorts them in pursuit of creating a comic adventure, with Spacey’s Lynch a benign and entertaining figure entirely lacking in Cahill’s own brutality.

100 minutes, UK/Ireland/Germany/USA, 2000, Colour

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