Film: Kill The Irishman
Director: Jonathan Hensleigh
Starring: Ray Stevenson, Val Kilmer, Christopher Walken, Vincent D’Onofrio, Linda Cardellini, Bob Gunton, Vinnie Jones, etc.
Release Date: 03/13/11 (theatres) / 06/14/2011 (DVD)
Studio: Anchor Bay Films
Tagline: Based on the true story of Danny Greene the man the mob couldn’t kill
Plot: “The true story of Danny Greene, a tough Irish thug working for mobsters in Cleveland during the 1970’s.” (Source: IMDB)
Review Score: 3 / 5
My younger brother recommended a movie, something that doesn’t happen often, so I decided to go find out why. While Jonathan Hensleigh’s name probably wouldn’t be uttered next to, say, Martin Scorsese’s, this crime thriller biopic still packs a lot of cinema punch. Ray Stevenson (Punisher: War Zone) delivers a strong lead performance portraying tough-as-nails Danny Greene, a real-life Irish crime mobster. Hensleigh made sure to invest in settings to capture the look of the 1970s (cars, buildings, furniture), even if it was to the detriment of below average CGI special effects (some of the exploding car scenes, a handful of many throughout the film, do look noticeably fake). I also thought Val Kilmer’s performance was suspect: half the time is spent trying to hide his obviously larger frame, the other half it felt like a ‘phoned in’ acting performance overall (script problem maybe?). Christopher Walken and Vinnie Jones played their usual, villainous selves to great effect.
Despite these up and down script and performance flaws, let’s get to the things that worked about Kill The Irishman. Being a fan of Scorsese films like Casino and Goodfellas, I was actually impressed with the obvious scenes that pay homage to those seen previously in those films. Those ‘standard’ gangster moments, violence flying about while the classic 70’s theme songs of yesteryear play overhead, were always trademarks. Is it poor-man’s Scorsese? Yes, but that doesn’t mean it’s not done well here – it is. The other aspect some genre fans will love is the mob violence. It becomes a web of characters being knocked off one by one as situations occur and deals are made. Danny doesn’t take no for an answer, and always gets what he wants…so you can imagine that causes some friction in and outside of the organization he’s involved with. If anything, Hensleigh has proven that films like this can be done by someone other than Scorsese or Guy Ritchie.
Photos: (c) 2011 Moviez4U (top) and IMDB (bottom)