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on 28 June 2012
The biopic is a strange beast that often comes under one of two umbrellas; flaunts the Oscars, or tells the tale of a gangster. `Kill the Irishman' is the second type of biopic and surrounds American-Irish criminal Danny Greene as he attempted to take over the Italian Mafia stronghold of Cleveland. With Ray Stevenson as the main star, `Irishman' was never going to be the biggest budget or most visible film ever, but it does have its moments. Stevenson is triumphant as the lead, his accent works and being the man mountain that he is, he has the presence needed. I also enjoyed the story; not knowing who Greene was I was in the dark as to the outcome of the film. It owed a lot of the likes of `Goodfellas', but if you are going to borrow from something, make it the best.
It is elsewhere in the film that things unravel. The casting of the co-stars is a who's who of B movie actors - Val Kilmer, Vinnie Jones, Christopher Walken post 1995. Every one of them is sleep walking through the film and have some of the worst accents in recent film history. It takes the power of Stevenson performance just to counter act this awful trio. Vincent D'Onofrio does appear and make a decent effort, but as for the female leads, they are undercooked and underused.
Credit is due to Stevenson, but also director/writer Jonathan Hensleigh. Despite a series of miscasts, the director is still able to make an entertaining and exciting film. He uses the usual Biopic and crime film tropes, but they have worked for decades and still prove useful here. Despite a limited budget the set dressing, hair styles and wardrobe still work - a shabby chic that is both dirty and dangerous. Just looking at the cover and the cast list would make it easy to lump `Kill the Irishman' as yet another poor straight to DVD B Movie. This is unfair as Stevenson's presence, an interesting story and decent direction makes it an above average film.
Shot on a limited budget `Irishman' is probably best viewed on DVD and not BluRay as little is gained from the HD. The extras are interesting, including an older documentary that covers the real life events the film was based upon.