Directed by Jim Sheridan
Written by Jim Sheridan & Terry George
Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Emily Watson, Brian Cox
After fourteen years in prison, Danny Flynn (Day-Lewis) is coming home. This former boxer and I.R.A. collaborator is hoping to rebuild his life. He’s also hoping to bring some peace to community he lives in. When he starts boxing again, Danny opens up the gym to both Catholics and Protestants. As he pushes for peace he’s met with resistance that could cost him everything.
For director Jim Sheridan (My Left Foot) and writer Terry George (Hotel Rwanda) this movie followed up the major success of their joint project In the Name of the Father. That film also starred Daniel Day-Lewis in a politically charged drama about the I.R.A. and the struggles of the Irish people. This time the movie stars Day-Lewis (The Ballad of Jack and Rose) alongside Emily Watson (War Horse) and Brian Cox (Red).
Daniel Day-Lewis has always risen to the top of the films he’s a part of. This is a great example of his skill to adapt to a role and make it feel genuine and powerful. Throughout the film his performance feels natural, making it wonderful to watch. Emily Watson also does a good job with one of the earlier roles of her career. Brian Cox is also good with his role. Thanks to these three and the rest of the cast the film has some great moments.
The screenplay for this film follows two major story lines. The bigger picture focuses on the I.R.A. and the consequences Danny Flynn faces for his lack of approval for their methods. The smaller story is based on the relationship Danny has with Maggie, the girl he left behind when he went to prison. Unfortunately, this film seems to miss the mark with some major opportunities throughout. What’s left behind is a relatively predictable drama that doesn’t really make a point. For a film focused on the I.R.A. and the sectarian violence in Ireland, this one needed to dig a little deeper.
I am a big fan of Daniel Day-Lewis which made this a fun watch. The story is weak, failing to reach deep enough to really help this one stand out. If you’re a fan of the stars I think this is still a worthwhile watch. I would also suggest this to anyone who likes drama or is interested in the many films about the I.R.A.. I give this one 3 out of 5 stars.