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Ordinary Decent Criminal

28 customer reviews

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(Jan 21, 2003)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Academy Award(R)-winner Kevin Spacey (Best Actor, 1999, AMERICAN BEAUTY) leads an all-star cast in this fast, fun, and suspenseful story of a clever crime boss and the lost art of the heist! Michael Lynch (Spacey) is Dublin's most notorious criminal, known for brazen robberies that perplex the police and inspire his fellow working-class Northsiders. When he's not playing family man with his children and two wives -- sisters Christine (Linda Fiorentino -- MEN IN BLACK) and Lisa (Helen Baxendale) -- Lynch is busy plotting elaborate larcenies that are as much about style and showmanship as the loot involved! But when the one cop (Stephen Dillane -- SPY GAME) sharp enough to catch Lynch gets on his case, our fun-loving criminal gets a run for his money! Also featuring Colin Farrell (MINOTIRY REPORT) as Lynch's loyal sidekick -- you're sure to get your money's worth from his highly original and endlessly entertaining movie treat!

To the disappointment of Kevin Spacey fans, Miramax never released Ordinary Decent Criminal in the U.S. That has more to do with backstage negotiations than with the quality of this amusing Irish crime caper, which was overshadowed by John Boorman's similar and superior film The General. Both were inspired by the exploits of infamous Irish gangster Martin Cahill, fictionalized here as Michael Lynch (Spacey, with a passable brogue), an elusive bank robber who prides himself on family values and clever escapes. His latest brazen scheme involves the theft of a priceless Caravaggio painting, but director Thaddeus O'Sullivan (who made the underrated Nothing Personal) is more interested in quirky character study than criminal behavior, giving the film its jaunty, uneven mix of humor, drama, and violence. The casting of Spacey and Linda Fiorentino (as Lynch's supportive wife) is an awkward concession to international box office, but the movie's Irish flavor--including a pre-stardom role for Colin Farrell--is enough to keep its cagey spirits high. --Jeff Shannon

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Kevin Spacey, Linda Fiorentino, Peter Mullan, Stephen Dillane, Helen Baxendale
  • Directors: Thaddeus O'Sullivan
  • Writers: Gerard Stembridge
  • Producers: Christine Ruppert, James Mitchell, Jonathan Cavendish, Margaret Moggan, Martha O'Neill
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Miramax Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: January 21, 2003
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000077VRZ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #170,871 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Ordinary Decent Criminal" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Lottie on February 19, 2003
Format: DVD
. . .more than a review. This is a good movie. To me, Kevin Spacey opens a film. His performances make even a mediocre film worth watching (and owning on DVD). The story is good, and not everything can be another "Se7en" or "American Beauty." Nevertheless, if you are a Spacey fan, check it out.
But my real reason for posting a review was to give the head's up to any Colin Farrell fans out there . . . he's been getting a following lately, and the DVD tries to jump on that by putting him on its cover. If that entices you to pick it up as you are fresh from seeing his stellar performance in "The Recruit" or want more of his hometown accent that was offered as Bullseye, you will be sorely displeased. Mr. Farrell has no more than 5 lines in the film.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By on December 18, 2002
Format: DVD
Ordinary Decent Criminal was loosley adapted from John Boormans critically acclaimed, The General which told the story of real-life Irish criminal Martin Cahill. In a perfect piece of casting, Kevin Spacey plays Cahill (though is renamed Michael Lynch in the movie), a cocky but likeable Dublin gangster who spent his days robbing the rich, annoying the police and falling foul of the IRA. Spacey puts in a power-packed, beleavable performance though he plays the role as a loveable rogue in contrast to the real Martin Cahill. His Irish accent is a little dodgy at times but makes up for it with his performance. The film is well structured featuring moments of comedy, undertones of gritty realism and plenty of impressive action scenes that makes this well worth a look. Given Spacy amicable support is British T.V actress Helen Baxendale as Lisa in a small but effective role. Recommended.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Ian Phillips on May 15, 2006
Format: DVD
Ordinary Decent Criminal (shot in the U.K., Germany and Ireland) was a fairly loose and thinly veiled adaptation of the John Boormans critically acclaimed book, The General.

The General, told the story of real-life Irish criminal, Martin Cahill, who spent most of his days robbing the rich (with his philosphy being "they can afford it so why shouldn't I), laughably antagonising the police and on several occasions, falling foul of the IRA.

In a perfect piece of casting, Kevin Spacy takes on the role of the initial Cahill characterization and is re-named Michael Lynch in the film.

Kevin Spacy puts in a solid, power-packed, beleavable performance. He approaches his role in a number of ways and is vastly effective as the cocky but equally likeable Dublin gangster, playing it as though a loveable rogue in contrast to the real Cahill. His Irish accent is a little dodgy at times but apart from that minor flaw, Spacy excels in the role.

Directed by Thaddeus O' Sullivan with the screenplay having been written by Gerald Sternbridge, Ordinary Decent Criminal was considerably well-structured despite the lack of true detail to which the main character was based. The film follows Michael Lynch's many crime sprees (do not want to give too much away there) and makes for highly entertaining viewing. If anything the film seemed more inspired by The General, rather than structuring it around the ethos of Boormans book. Still the film vastly works despite that initial shortcoming.

Linda Florentino takes the role of Michael Lynch's wife, Christine. His loyal almost fierce devotion to his family is made crystal clear from the early sequences in the film.

British T.V star, Helen Baxendale (a one-time star on the fantastic U.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 5, 2005
Format: DVD
Robbers and Cops, September 5, 2005Reviewer: Grady Harp (Los Angeles, CA United States) - See all my reviews

ORDINARY DECENT CRIMINAL has to be one of the more tongue-in-cheek titles Hollywood has devised for a story apparently based on a real life infamous Irish gangster Martin Cahill whose claim to fame was robbing banks and getting away with it while posing as a preceptor of family values! Yet in this reincarnation the plot is suffused with comedy and typical capers and served up by a fine cast on a shaky platform.

Michael Lynch (Kevin Spacey, always terrific to watch even in uneven films) is a 'gentleman robber', married to two sisters (Linda Fiorentino and Helen Baxendale) whose latest criminal diversion involves the theft of a Caravaggio painting. How he utilizes his cohorts and evades the police headed by Noel Quigley (the extraordinarily gifted actor Stephen Dillane who played Stephen Woolf in 'The Hours'). The cast is good and makes the best of a confusing arc of storyline written by Gerard Stembridge. Director Thaddeus O'Sullivan keeps things moving along but slides into some boring and non-additive variances from the plot and character development that threaten to grind down the film. Tack on a corny ending not in keeping with the real character on whose life the story is based and the recipe for lack of success in the theaters is obvious.

But keep the expectations low and this film will entertain. Sad that for its distribution in the USA the cover of the DVD lists Colin Farrell as one of the stars (Spacey, Fiorentino, Farrell) which says a lot about PR grossness: Farrell is a VERY minor extra here and should any other actor be listed in top billing it is Stephen Dillane! Not a great heist film but it's always good to see more of Spacey. Grady Harp, September 05
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