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  • Michael Collins
    • Michael Collins
    • Runtime:127 min
    • Release Date:2014-08-31 02:12:43
    • Director: Neil Jordan
    • Genres: Biography, Drama, Thriller, War
    • Studio:
MOVIE REVIEW:Michael Collins
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A collection of fairly big names (including Liam Neeson, Alan Rickman
and Julia Roberts) joined together to offer this tribute to Michael
Collins, one of the leaders of the movement for Irish independence and
the chief negotiator of the controversial treaty that led to the
establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922, and who was ultimately
assassinated during the resulting Irish Civil War. Neeson was superb in
the role of Collins, convincingly showing his evolution from a radical
who promoted violence and murder as a way of achieving the republic to
his recognition that achieving his goals would have to be a part of an
evolutionary process that would include the Irish Free State – an
independent Ireland, but within the British Empire, and under the
sovereignty of the English King. The treaty brought him into conflict
with fellow republican leader Eamon de Valera (Rickman), who was
critical of Collins' violent methods and seemed more interested in
talking – both within and without Ireland – but who rejected the Free
State and became a bitter opponent of Collins.

This is hardly an uplifting movie, which I suppose makes it a fairly
reasonable representation of the Irish history of the period (and of
subsequent decades.) The first 75 minutes or so especially was a bit of
a downer. That period of the movie features good performances and some
helpful reflections on the history of the republican movement, but -
much like Irish history itself – it becomes repetitively violent and
bloody, as British kill Irish and Irish kill Irish and there seems to
be little point to it all. That gets briefly set aside with the opening
of negotiations with the British and the ultimate signing of and debate
over the Free State treaty. Perhaps the most poignant line of the movie
(to me) was when, during an argument over whether to accept the
independent Free State or hold out for a republic, Collins says words
to the effect of "I'm not going to kill over a matter of words" -
making the point that The Free State had accomplished basically what
the republicans wanted – Irish independence, with a republic left to be
established through the normal process of political evolution. De
Valera and his followers, though, refuse to accept that and restart the
Civil War.

This is certainly an interesting reflection not just on Ireland but on
extremism of all kinds, and the natural desire of people to have
everything they want right away and the resulting inability of many to
compromise. I might add that Julia Roberts (as Kitty, who became
engaged to Michael) seemed largely window dressing. Kitty's presence
wasn't really necessary to the more important story of the political
and paramilitary activities in Ireland and seemed to be more for the
purpose of humanizing Michael Collins a bit. From the perspective of
later Irish history, Collins' ultimate death seems so tragic, since
within a few years De Valera chose to become active in the politics of
the Free State (eventually even serving as Prime Minister of the Free
State) and proved what Collins had said all along – that the Free State
was part of an evolutionary movement that would lead to the
establishment of the republic. Perhaps any movie dealing with virtually
any part of Irish history has to be tragic to be honest.

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Actually way stronger than Ken Loach's rendering of the Irish Civil War
- http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0460989/

Solid acting (might be candid at times but, hey, this is a genre
movie), great rhythm throughout a 2-hour film, true-to-life dialogs
(you do feel Neil Jordan was born in Sligo), impressive sets (how did
they manage the Four Courts bombing?)

All in all, a great movie: well-made, entertaining, that never
stretches too far and leaves you thinking, as Michael Collins when in
Dublin Castle during the transition ceremony: 'What's in a flag…'

As I tend to like Neil Jordan's movies, and to have an interest in
Irish history, I was a bit scared of being disappointed. Well, that did
not happen.

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*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Starring: Ian Hart as Joe O Reilly Julia Roberts as Kitty Kiernan
Richard Ingram as The British Officer Liam Neeson as Michael Collins
Aidin Quinn as Harry Boland Joe O Leary as Thomas Clarke and Alan
Rickman as Eamon De Valera After the defeat of Irish rebels by superior
British forces during Easter week of rebellion of 1916 and Michael
Collin develops new strategies for the Independence of Ireland,but
becomes vilified by the people that are hoping to create a completely
different Independent Irish republic,Michael Collins is a very epic
except very underrated film about one of the greatest hero's that ever
lived,it was nominated for 2 Oscars but didn't win either of them.

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