Neil Jordan's account of the life and career of Irish revolutionary leader Michael Collins. Though not always historically accurate, it tells of Collins' (Liam Neeson) struggle to release Ireland from British rule in the 1920s, his love affair with Kitty Kiernan (Julia Roberts) and political struggles with Sinn Fein president Eamon De Valera (Alan Rickman).
A heartfelt epic from Irish director Neal Jordan (The Crying Game
, Interview with the Vampire
), Michael Collins
is the biography of the charismatic and controversial Irish rebel leader who led the fight for independence from Britain. Among the most beautiful and atmospherically photographed movies of the 1990s, Michael Collins
is also a rich and intelligent study of the nature of politics and leadership: the IRA spokesman, full of fiery convictions, eventually gives way to the more mature negotiator who strives to reach a compromise solution and is politically undone in the process. Liam Neeson gives a grand and towering performance as Collins, but for all the character's legendary, heroic, or otherwise larger-than-life attributes, Jordan and Neeson also keep him human. This is sweeping historical filmmaking of the kind we haven't seen since the heyday of David Lean, but with Jordan's characteristic touches of complexity and ambivalence. --Jim Emerson