A Rebel Cry
"Michael Collins" is Neil Jordan's drama about Irish revolutionary leader Michael Collins (Liam Neeson) who struggled to free Ireland from British rule during the 1920s, his relationship with Kitty Kiernan (Julia Roberts) as well as his political struggles with Sinn Fein leader Eamon De Valera (Alan Rickman).
I've mentioned before that I was born in the early 1970s and as a Brit I have clear memories involving the conflict in Ireland and the various acts of the IRA. But as I was young I had no real interest in what was going on and then at secondary school the subject of the IRA was not taught during history lessons. As such I am admittedly ignorant to the source of the troubles which dominated Ireland for many years and knew nothing about Michael Collins before watching Neil Jordan's "Michael Collins". As such I will say now I don't know how much fact and fiction there is going on in this biopic.
But here is the thing, there are many like me who watch biopics with no knowledge of the person the movie is about and do so looking for two things; to be entertained and to learn something. Now "Michael Collins" gave me an idea of what the conflict was about and how the IRA came to be but in a way which wasn't dry or tedious as Neil Jordan balances the movie nicely so for every speech there is a moment of action and for every moment of action there is some character development as well. It means that by the time "Michael Collins" comes to a close just over 2 hours later your understanding of the conflict and the IRA is enough that you may even be lead to look in to it some more.
The other thing as I mentioned is to be entertained and "Michael Collins" does this with plenty of impressive sets and oozing with atmosphere. But it also does it through the performances and Liam Neeson fills Michael Collins with fire breathing passion so that when he talks be it in a room of 10 or to a crowd he commands your attention which is what is called for. Then you have Alan Rickman who as Eamon de Valera brings a contrast in styles to Neeson as Collins bringing to the fore a conflict between the characters. To be honest the acting through out is first rate with not a single disappointing performance.
What this all boils down to is that for those like me who have no knowledge about Michael Collins or how the IRA came to be "Michael Collins" works because it is a piece of informative entertainment which draws you in not just through the story it is telling but through the look and the first rate acting.