Friday, February 03, 2012

The General (1998)

Theatrical Poster
Source: Wikipedia
The rise and fall of Martin 'The General' Cahill, a notorious Irish criminal in the 1980's and -90's.

Following his release from prison, Martin Cahill (Brendon Gleeson) fails in saving his beloved Hollyfield estate, but instead gains by being moved to an upmarket part of Dublin.

He refuses to get a job, continuing to withdraw his dole money and the carrying on with the life of crime that landed him in prison in the first place. He later gains notoriety after organising the robbery of a jewellers with a military precision, earning his nickname 'The General'.
In real life, 'The General' was a family man who cared for his neighbourhood and shied away from the media by using his hand to cover his face. He was also a criminal mastermind, and this is exactly how he is portrayed in the film.

In real life, 'The General' was a council estate thief would grew up without a role model. He tricked his way to the top, forcing the Dublin council to bend over backwards whilst playing games against the police he could never hope to win, and this is exactly how is portrayed in the film.

Of course, both could be equally correct and that is truly the beauty of this black comedy. Brendan Gleeson is magnificent at getting both the antagonist and protagonist views across - not dissimilar to the role he would later take in the fictional film In Bruges.

So often films are ruined by showing the end at the beginning, and so it started to appear at the beginning of The General. Gradually though, a more multi-dimensional image of Martin Cahill began to appear, turning the audience against the GardaĆ­.

For a relatively unknown but true story, this is worth a watch.

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