The General

Bomb Rating: 

Director John Boorman, who has somehow been able to direct films as diverse as "Hope and Glory" and "Exorcist 2," offers up this portrait of Irish criminal Martin Cahill (Brendan Gleeson), known to locals as The General.

At the end of the film, Cahill is shot dead, probably bumped off by the IRA or the cops or the Screenwriters' Guild or some other group he pissed off. While giving away the ending is usually a criticism faux pas, Boorman opens with the same scene just so we know we'll be sitting through two long hours of Irish people babbling incoherently only to find out that his death wasn't some "Dallas"-style "it's all just a bad dream" fiasco after all.

In every piece and every review I've read on this film, the writer has included the fact that Boorman had his gold record for "Deliverance" stolen by the real Mr. Cahill, a scene that is included in the film. Not wanting to be excluded from the "Looky, I got me some insider information!" club, you'll notice I've mentioned it, too. One wonders, however, whether Boorman's brief brush with the criminal element has gone to his head.

Among Cahill's idiosyncrasies was that he had children by his wife, Frances (Maria Doyle Kennedy) and her sister, Tina (Angeline Ball), and that they all lived together happily. Another was that whenever he appeared in public, he covered his face, which immediately made me think "what a great idea for a movie -- a guy with his hand over his face." Truth may be stranger than fiction sometimes; here it's only slightly more boring.

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