The General (1998)

R   |    |  Biography, Crime, Drama

The General (1998) Poster

The real-life story of Dublin folk hero and criminal Martin Cahill, who pulled off two daring robberies in Ireland with his team, but attracted unwanted attention from the police, the I.R.A., the U.V.F., and members of his own team.




  • Sean McGinley in The General (1998)
  • The General (1998)
  • Aoife Moriarty in The General (1998)
  • Jon Voight and Brendan Gleeson in The General (1998)
  • John Boorman at an event for The General (1998)
  • Brendan Gleeson in The General (1998)

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5 December 2002 | bob the moo
Very funny, enjoyable tale that is equal handed if a little sentimental
Martin Cahill is an Irish thief but is generally a well mannered man with a good sense of humour. His actions draw the attention of the police, although he always manages to stay one step ahead of them. However his life is one of crime and violence and a major art robbery brings him to be the focus of a police investigation and brings the IRA demanding a cut. When a deal is made with the UVF Cahill's position becomes increasingly untenable.

Films about the troubles (or around the troubles) in Northern Ireland usually tend to put me off because they often wear their colours very large on their sleeves and seem more interesting in scoring political points than telling a good story. However this happily manages to avoid that and tells a Robin Hood style tale that is fairly well told.

Cahill is a little romanticised in that he has a great sense of humour and is very likeable, but the film doesn't hold back from showing the violence of the life with Cahill having to do nasty stuff as well. For me it worked so well because of the gentle comedy that ran through the story, but it still held plenty of drama and the characters (especially Cahill) held my attention easily.

Gleeson gives a great performance. He has got Cahill's little habits down really well – the covering of the face at every opportunity etc. Dunbar is good as are most of the support cast. Voight is an interesting bit of casting that is only used occasionally. However it is really Gleeson's show and his good humour carries the film easily.

Overall this film is very entertaining with a dark edge to it. The story is very enjoyable itself but with the dark humour provided by Gleeson it is even better.

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