Kill The Irishman
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Over the summer of 1976, thirty-six bombs detonated in the heart of Cleveland while a turf war raged between Irish mobster Danny Greene (Ray Stevenson) and the Italian mafia. Based on a true story, KILL THE IRISHMAN chronicles Greene's heroic rise from a tough Cleveland neighborhood to become an enforcer in the local mob. Turning the tables on loan shark Shondor Birns (Christopher Walken) and allying himself with gangster John Nardi (Vincent D'Onofrio), Greene stops taking orders from the mafia and pursues his own power. Surviving countless assassination attempts from the mob and killing off anyone who went after him in retaliation, Danny Greene's infamous invincibility and notorious fearlessness eventually led to the collapse of mafia syndicates across the U.S. and also earned him the status of the man the mob couldn't kill.
Written and directed by Jonathan Hensleigh and also starring Val Kilmer, Paul Sorvino and Linda Cardellini, KILL THE IRISHMAN is inspired by Rick Porello's true crime account ''To Kill The Irishman: The War That Crippled The Mafia.''
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If you liked the Wire you'll enjoy this, but it is based upon a true life story of Danny Green, his life as a Longshoreman and a Mobster. I came of age in Cleveland and remember when they blew him and his car up. There was lots of thugs and corruption among the unions and the mob back in the day. This movie portrays the times well and character are well thought out and developed.
Mafia (1998), written by Rick Porrello a retired Cleveland Police Detective is the basis for this film that is loosely based on his life. Danny never claimed to be a saint as he himself admittedly wined, dined & danced with the devil himself (which no doubt led to his early demise) the amazing factor is how long he did survive. His only redeeming value was how he looked after his neighbors, the elderly and orphans in his community. As a skilled, dedicated labourer to his 'work' & a vibrant yet brilliant innovative character that Danny Greene was, one has to wonder what he could have accomplished if he only walked the straight & narrow.
When I did, I wasn't disappointed, despite the fact that Kill the Irishman is admittedly not a great film. Some of it is simply due to the apparently small budget of the film, but certain scenes can be a bit hokey, albeit not so much in a poorly made, cringeworthy way so much as in a B action movie sort of way, which is fine on its own. Except that I was expecting this to be more of a B action movie, when in reality, when the film buckles down and takes its surprisingly more serious dramatic turns it does them very well. The final scenes of the film in particular had me near tears, which I was not expecting at all from this film, and are a further testament to the tough yet vulnerable type characters Stevenson plays exemplary, and his performance as Danny Greene here is no exception. As cold blooded as Danny can be in his work, you really get the impression from this he was a good man outside of it, who cared for the people around him and a certain unique, distinctly Irish persona that drew people to him. I found myself rooting for Danny even when I probably shouldn't have been, so as always, Stevenson won me over here.
The rest of the cast does well enough, though Val Kilmer in particular seems to have phoned in his role. But for the quality of Ray Stevensons acting, his character, the storyline, the action packed moments and not least of all the music - an eclectic mix of traditional Irish music and rock and pop music of the time periods - this movie is worth a watch. It's not perfect, but in an era of films bloated by overuse of CGI and forgettable plot and characters, Kill the Irishman has a distinctly old school feel to it that will surely satisfy fans of action and crime films, and even moreso, fans of Ray Stevenson who would like to see him in a good movie for a change.