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Michael Collins (1997)

1916: Michael Collins is a young Irish volunteer whose participation in the Easter Uprising fuels his desire to see Ireland free of British rule. With his friend, Harry Boland, Collins sets out to create a resistance movement and a strategy that will bring independence to fruition.

This is Neil Jordan’s screen biography about the founder of the IRA, an intellectual who virtually invented urban terrorism and bombed his way to talks in Downing Street before being assassinated by his own side in 1922.

The movie begins with an impressively filmed Easter Uprising, in which Jordan appears to demolish Dublin, yet there’s also an even-handedness when it comes to depicting and simplifying the political struggle for Irish independence.

As Collins, Liam Neeson fills a room with his charm and menace, while Alan Rickman is superbly cast as Eamon De Valera, a fanatic in pebble glasses.

Julia Roberts, however, looks wispy and hopelessly lost, the victim of a crass casting decision made in the hope of boosting the box office.

Michael Collins
Liam Neeson
Kitty Kiernan
Julia Roberts
Harry Boland
Aidan Quinn
Joe O’Reilly
Ian Hart
Ned Broy
Stephen Rea
Patrick Pearse
John Kenny
Eamon De Valera
Alan Rickman
Charles Dance

Neil Jordan