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Belfast hoodlum Martin (Jim Sturgess) is recruited by a British agent (Ben Kingsley) to infiltrate the IRA during the height of the Northern Irish conflict and quickly becomes embroiled in a dangerous game that could cost him his life if his secret is found out. As other informers are brutally murdered, Martin starts to look for a way out, but his handler urges him to stay undercover in this taut action packed thriller based on a true story.
In her nerve-jangling adaptation of Martin McGartland's memoir, director Kari Skogland takes the politics out of an inherently political scenario. As Martin, Jim Sturgess (21) affects a convincing accent as a "Catholic hood selling stolen goods" in Belfast in 1988. When the British Special Branch catches Martin in the act and coerces him to inform on the Irish Republican Army in lieu of jail time, he takes the bait, knowing full well the army will kill him if they find out. Once his girlfriend, Lara (Natalie Press), becomes pregnant, the income the British provide becomes more necessary than ever. Further, Martin's sympathetic handler, Fergus (Ben Kingsley in fine form), turns out to be even more of an ally than his best mate, Sean (Kevin Zegers). During Martin's days with the IRA, he also meets the flame-haired Grace (Rose McGowan in an underwritten role), who offers him a vision of a different life. The title refers to the belief that Martin's intelligence saved the lives of 50 potential targets, though the film suggests he acted more out of self-interest than a sense of duty. It's also hard to imagine that anyone raised in Northern Ireland could remain so resolutely apolitical--but it isn't inconceivable either. The real-life informer survived where many others did not, though he's been living under an assumed name since. Extras include deleted scenes, 30 minutes of fairly unilluminating B-roll (unused) footage, and commentary from Skogland, who states, "Ultimately, this movie is not a political story; this is a human drama." --Kathleen C. FennessySee all Editorial Reviews
When the first chase sequence kicks in, cheesed up by inappropriately 'relevant' pop music, you know that is going to be heavy-handed to say the least. Read morePublished 18 days ago by S Maslin
I liked the picture. The topic is very interesting bases on real facts. I widely recommend it.Published 5 months ago by Maria-Esther Puente
Really gives you an ideal of life during these turbulent times in Northern Ireland. Jim Sturgess is one of my favorite actors. He was awesome in 21.Published 6 months ago by Robert
Terrific acting by all but specific emphasis on Jim Sturgis playing a man torn between family, the law and country. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Kris A.Maxwell
SAVE YOUR MONEY FOR OTHER GREAT FILMS ABOUT THE IRISH REVOLUTION...ACTING AND STORY A BOREPublished 10 months ago by jimi
Excellent movie of the Irish Retribution Force fighting
the English - this is a must see film!
In order to fully enjoy this movie I had to try and put out of my mind another film about the IRA called In the name of the Father which was far superior, more intense, better... Read morePublished on May 7, 2013 by Sinead Summer
great edge of your seat movie on the madness of the so called "troubles"
suspenseful and poignant, great movie a must see