Monday, January 14, 2013

Kill the Irishman

I watched this film based on a strong recommendation from a friend.  Having watched the trailer I was still interested in the story of Irish American mobster Danny Greene that was adapted from the book written by Rick Porrello.  The film is written and directed by Jonathan Hensleigh who is best known for writing the "Young Indiana Jones" series and for directing "The Punisher" (2004).

The cast is very well put together with Ray Stevenson as Danny Greene and his gang including Vinnie Jones and Vincent D'Onofrio who battles against the loan shark Christopher Walken and the Italian Mafia represented by Paul Sorvino.  The police presence comes from Val Kilmer who also gives the voice over narrative of the story hinting that the demise of Danny Greene is imminent.  The way the Cleveland mob worked wasn't what you recognize from most films as you see more car bombs than you do shootouts.

The story is based on true events about how Danny Greene gained power first in a local chapter of the International Longshoremen's Association, where he was elected president in the early 1960s.  Greene pushed into Cleveland rackets and after being arrested he became an FBI informant, but the film barely depicts this other than showing a couple phone calls.  I thought that it would have been a bigger part of the  story, but instead the film focuses on a loan that Danny refuses to repay and the repercussions with the mafia. 

The acting in the film is very well done, with Ray Stevenson giving a performance that is certainly among the best for the year as he manages to keep his character really violent, but also likable.  Unfortunately the script holds him back and with the voice over narrative by Val Kilmer, it is a prime example of laziness in telling the story. 

I wanted to like this film more, but ultimately the script prevented the film from capturing what I had hoped.  It is fine as a rental, but not much beyond that and earns only a 3 Quack rating.

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