Neil Jordan's historical biopic of Irish revolutionary Michael Collins, the man who led a guerrilla war against the UK, helped negotiate the creation of the Irish Free State, and led the National Army during the Irish Civil War.
Neil Jordan's depiction of the controversial life and death of Michael Collins, the "Lion of Ireland", who led the IRA against the UK and helped found the Irish Free State in 1922. Written by
Dawn M. Barclift
The film takes place from 1916 to 1922. See more »
Michael Collins is shown wearing a wrist watch. These were developed specifically for World War I airplane fighter pilots. It is far more likely that Collins would have carried a pocket watch during the period the film covers. See more »
[dictating a letter]
You've got to think of him the way he was... He was what the times demanded. And life without him seems impossible. But he's dead. And life is possible. He made it possible.
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Opening scroll: At the turn of the century Britian was the foremost world power and the British Empire stretched over two-thirds of the globe. Despite the extent of its power its most troublesome colony had always been the one closest to it, Ireland For seven hundred years Britain's rule over Ireland had been resisted by attempts at rebellion and revolution, all of which ended in failure. Then, in 1916, a rebellion began, to be followed by a guerilla war which would change the nature of that rule forever. The mastermind behind that war was Michael Collins. His life and death defined the period, in its triumph, terror and tragedy. This is his story. See more »
Liam Neeson dominates this biographical picture of the life of Michael Collins and the ultimate sacrifice he made to bring Ireland both freedom and peace. Freedom from the British Empire and peace to bring about some healing. Freedom they got, peace is still a dubious proposition in that country where they're still fighting the issues of the Reformation and Countereformation.
The years covered are from 1916's Easter Rebellion until 1922 when Ireland was hip deep in a bloody civil war that ended only with exhaustion. Collins develops the strategy the prototype of urban guerrilla warfare. It's been used ever since in every part of the globe by whomever insurgents are.
Having seen enough violence and caused enough of it Collins was sent by President Eamon DeValera as part of the negotiating team for a peace treaty. What they brought back was Dominion status for Ireland with the six Northern counties opting to remain in the British Empire and that King George V would be sovereign in Ireland. Collins saw it as a chance for the country to rest and heal with DeValera it was all or nothing. That split led to the civil war in Ireland far more bloody than the Rebellion as the casualties were 100% Irish.
Playing DeValera is Alan Rickman and he fleshes out DeValera as the rather uptight manipulator of events and people that he was in real life. Julia Roberts who does not master an Irish brogue plays the woman in Collins's life whom he was going to marry. But casting Roberts was probably made strictly for box office.
The details are fudged, but if you watch Michael Collins you'll get an idea from the film and from Neeson's performance of what the man was about and the sacrifice he made.
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