Ben Dinsdale " There's no reason for killing or dying anymore. What's more, there's no reason for living!"
Anna: "That's a terrible thing to say!"
A Prayer For The Dying features what might very well be the most effective opening scene in all of cinema. Practically nothing is said, yet as the viewer you know exactly what is happening. It perfectly sets up the rest of the film. What happens? A ragged band of IRA punks in Northern Ireland have a bomb rigged to go off when some British Army jeeps drive by on patrol. Unexpectedly, and unfortunately, a school bus carrying about a dozen 10-year-old girls passes the army vehicles. Kaboom. Both Rourke and his best friend Docherty (Liam Neeson) are disgusted by their misstep.
I picked up "A Prayer for the Dying" in a charity shop recently. It was a great purchase as I have always been a fan of Rourke until he decided to commit professional suicide with garbage like FTW and Wild Orchid. Rourke is one of the most underrated actors in the business, or at least he was until he took up professional boxing in 1990 and had his beautiful face re-arranged in the ring.
Upon viewing this Mike Hodge (Get Carter) film I enjoyed it from start to finish as Rourke gives an absolutly moving performance as an hit man wanting to give up his evil ways. I know that that has been used as a plot for a hundred movies, but this is easily one of the better of those films.
Bob Hoskins is competent as Fr DaCosta. Alan Bates could read the phone book and I'd enjoy his work. This 1987 movie is deeply atmospheric, yet unpretentious, it is one of those all too rare films in which the characters are truly believable. Set in mid eighties London amidst the paranoia of the troubles in Northern Ireland; the traumatised former terrorist attempts to escape his violent lifestyle, hindered by a blackmailing local gangster.
"I'll see you in Hell Jack."