Skip to main content

ORDINARY DECENT CRIMINAL

Ireland / USA / UK / Germany, 1999 (MIFF 2000, International Panorama)

Director: Thaddeus O'Sullivan

The escapades of notorious Irish criminal and folk hero, Martin Cahill, have spawned three films in as many years. John Boorman's excellent The General, followed by Vicious Circle and now Thaddeus O'Sullivan's Ordinary Decent Criminal. Kevin Spacey stars alongside Linda Fiorentino and a cast of outstanding UK talent in this playful but ultimately sobering romp. O'Sullivan has taken some artistic license with the Cahill legend and hence renamed his mischievous villain Michael Lynch. Lynch shares plenty with his real life inspiration: a happy marriage to two sisters, an ongoing feud with the Irish police and a string of outrageous and daring crimes including robbing his own dole office and making off with priceless art treasures in broad daylight. But Ordinary Decent Criminal has more substance than a comedy caper film. Reality and jeopardy come crashing in when Lynch begins to bask in the warm glow of his fame and popularity. He begins to place both his gang and his family in the line of fire when he taunts police once too often and ignores the threats of the IRA. Spacey is typically brilliant in the lead; Peter Muilan (My Name is Joe, MIFF 1999) a stand out as his right-hand man.

See also...

STRAIGHT FROM THE HEART

Spectacular impossibly vibrant and charged with electric song and dance, this Bollywood epic embodies the modern India in comedy, tragedy and music, music, music! ... In a palatial house in Gujart ... More »

THE NINTH GATE

Starring Johnny Depp (Ed Wood, MIFF 1995, Edward Scissorhands, Sleepy Hollow) and directed by the master of all things suspenseful and demonic, Roman Polanski (Rosemary's Baby). The Ninth Gate is an ... More »

JESUS' SON

Filled with stinging humour and standout performances, Jesus' Son is a mixture of road movie and redemptive table set in the drug subculture of the 1970s. Based on Denis Johnson's acclaimed short ... More »

FROG

A creepy, noxious fantasy that combines elements of classic fairytales (of he Grimms Brothers variety) with horror and even a subversive ecological message. While innocently strolling in a dark wood ... More »

ANGELS OF THE UNIVERSE

One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Icelandic director Fridrik Thor Fridriksson blurs the line between sanity and madness, casting doubt on how we come to decide which is which. Paul is living a ... More »

THE GENESIS

A Biblical story of wrath and vengeance unlike anything you may have heard at Sunday School. Prodigiously talented filmmaker Cheik Oumar Sissoko sets his story 300 years after the Great Flood that ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director