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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.

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