The leader of an Irish separatist group's, been hiding in the house of Kathleen and her mother, planning a robbery which would give his group the money needed to continue its activities. But the robbery fails, and Johnny's wounded. Immediately a man hunt's launched, and both the police - and Kathleen go in search of Johnny, but for different reasons.Written by
Eduardo Casais <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The framed print hanging on the wall in Father Tom's foyer, just off the vestry, is entitled Ecce Homo by Rembrandt van Rijn. Father Tom must have been quite an art lover. Above his fireplace hung a print of The Angel's Head from the (London, National Gallery) Virgin of the Rocks, painted 1506-08, by Leonardo Da Vinci, not to be confused with (Louvre) Virgin of the Rocks, painted 1482-03, also by Leonardo Da Vinci. See more »
In the two old ladies' home, the cuckoo clock pendulum isn't moving. See more »
Not so much about the `troubles' but still an atmospheric drama
Escaped from jail and sick of the violence, Johnny still is the head of the IRA and arranges a robbery on the mill. When he gets into a fight on the escape, Johnny is shot and kills a man. Half in and half out of the getaway car, Johnny falls out into the street and gets away before his comrades can collect him. Lost in the streets of Belfast, Johnny lurches from one safe-house to another while both friend and foe try to find him before the other.
While this film does feature an `organisation' that bares more than a passing resemblance to the IRA of the time and it is set in a town in Northern Ireland (unnamed in the film, but Belfast in reality) but this is not a film that is about the troubles per se; in fact it is surprising in just how non-partisan it manages to be throughout. The film goes the usual route of having the main IRA-character being either `too crazy for the IRA' or `too good for the IRA', the latter being the case here; however despite this it isn't anti-British or pro-IRA, in fact it is more about the characters and the dark landscape than about the politics.
Reed uses the same skills as he later would bring to the classic The Third Man - the dazzlingly dark streets, the imaginative shots and the photography. The actual plot is a little thin if you read the summary, however what it does do well is tell a tale of a man adrift among roughs and friends until true love is his release and redemption. For this reason, Mason actually doesn't have that much acting to do. He is quite understated in comparison to the lively and colourful support characters. His accent is way off for Northern Ireland; he tries a Southern accent but still his distinctive voice shines through. He gives a good performance but is surprisingly in the background for a leading man.
The support cast is better and is where the story really happens - in the hearts of the `normal' man. They have much better accents and characters and mannerisms that will be familiar for those who of us who are from Northern Ireland! The characters range from the good hearted to the greedy to the apathetic. The film never judges any of them but lets them be played out in their own way, it works well for this reason. The downside is that the support cast is almost more important than the banner star; the upside is that the film is never dull and is colourful throughout. The narrative takes a dramatic (if slightly melodramatic) turn at the end, but still produces a strong climax to the film, but it is the support cast and Johnny adventures through the dark streets of Belfast that makes the film move.
However to say that is the only driver is to do a disservice to the direction and photography. While the film doesn't really capture the spirit of Belfast, it does portray it as the prison that Johnny would view it as, and it does it with a great deal of style and imagination. Some scenes show great imagination - witness the faces in the beer bubbles or the pictures haunting Johnny in the art gallery.
Overall this is a great film, although narrative tends to take second place to the feel of the film, the style and the colourful character. Not near the class of Third Man but certainly a stylish and enjoyable film for those who enjoyed it's bigger brothers.
11 of 13 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this