THE EXTRAORDINARY STORY OF THE RISE AND FALL OF THE GANGSTER, MARTIN CAHILL.
John Boorman made a grand comeback with this film; his home had been burglarized and he decided to make a movie about the thief, who happened to be the Irish master criminal Martin Cahill. Dubbed “the General” by his cronies, Cahill had become a notorious robber who eventually made the mistake of challenging the IRA. The director portrays a humiliated police force that has a passionate desire to destroy the legend, but also a skilled professional who always knew how to trump the cops. Brendan Gleeson is successful in the way he lets Cahill come across as a regular family man who just happens to be a criminal.
1998-Ireland-Britain. 124 min. B/W. Widescreen. Produced, written and directed by John Boorman. Cast: Brendan Gleeson (Martin Cahill), Jon Voight (Ned Kelly), Adrian Dunbar (Noel Curley), Sean McGinley, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Angeline Ball… Jim Sheridan.
Trivia: Some versions of the film were issued in color.
Cannes: Best Director.
Last word: “I love black-and-white, and since I was making the film independently – I borrowed the money from the bank – there was no one to tell me I couldn’t. If I had made [‘The General’] for a studio, they wouldn’t let me do that. The other reason, the main reason, was because it was about recent events and people who were still alive. I wanted to give it a little distance. Black-and-white gives you that sort of parallel world. Also, it’s very close to the condition of dreaming, to the unconscious. I wanted it to have this mythic level because I felt this character was an archetype.” (Boorman, A.V. Club)