Image: Courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment
Dir: Jonathan Hensleigh (The Punisher (2004))
Cast: Ray Stevenson, Vincent D'Onofrio, Val Kilmer, Christopher Walken, Linda Cardellini, Fionnula Flanagan
Reason to see: I'll watch anything with Ray Stevenson, and even though crime films aren't always my thing the tough-guy thing usually gets me.
Kill the Irishman is a biopic on Danny Greene (played by Ray Stevenson), an aspiring and resilient man who took on the mob during the 1970's in Cleveland. Based on the book To Kill the Irishman by Rick Porrello and really centred strongly in time and place, the film brings Danny Greene's story alive. Ray Stevenson is great casting for Danny, giving a performance that is believable as being strong and strong-arming as well as being supportive and kind to the community around him. The film does a great job of creating the different time periods, and I particularly enjoyed the 70's sections that really got the vibe of the time just right.
But Kill the Irishman isn't just a biopic, but also a crime films as well and in such we get a a fair amount of violence, fighting and tons explosions with the multiple hit attempts on Danny. Given the fact there is such a volatile setting, I was suprized at how congenial the film and the characters could be. Especially Danny who even among all the madness always had a heart and continued to be gutsy but never outlandish. I loved how the film played with some of the absurdity without comedy like the odd not-friendship-nor-rivalry with cop Joe Manditski (played by Val Kilmer), who grew up in the same neighbourhood and they just end up being around the same things along. This really shows that amidst all the crime and the chaos, many of the people were regular, stand-up people. I really liked the humanity elements and what they brought to the film.
In terms of casting, the film is a complete treat. Not only is Ray Stevenson a great choice for Danny but we have him flanked left, right and centred by great actors from Christopher Walken who plays Shondor Birns, Vincent D'Onofrio as John Nardi and Val Kilmer as cop Joe Manditski. It's great to see this set of actors on the screen together. Overall, Kill the Irishman is a great biopic, and gives a very honest looking approach to the absurdity in the truth in a story that could have easily been overly stylized or sensationalized. Instead it feels as earnest as it is soulful through all the explosions, fights and friendships.
- Documentary - Danny Greene: The Rise and Fall of the Irishman (1 hour) documentary focus on the life and times of Danny Greene from being known as the Celtic warrior and the Robin Hood of Collinwood helpful and supporting to families in need in the community to his involvent with crime and involvement as an FBI informant. This biography includes interviewing friends, acquaintances, police, former FBI, lawyer, experts on his on his life and covers everything from childhood to ambitions to involvement in crime, and many close calls and attempts on his life. Has a really great intro with names and images of the players of The Mayfield Road Mob as well as a warning that the documentary included pictures and footage of criminal activity.
Shannon's Overall View:
I enjoyed it
I'll watch it again
I'd recommend it to fans of crime films, gangster films & dramas
Return to Film Reviews or see more DVD Reviews
© Shannon Ridler, 2011