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...

POST MORTEM

Post Mortem is a strange, absorbing tale of love, crime and redemption. The film focuses on two people, Linda and Ghislain, whose lives are linked in a unique way. Linda is devoted to her ... 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 »

JANICE BEARD: 45 WPM

Janice Beard is a woman with a vivacious personality and an overactive imagination, who has been causing shocks her whole life. Her father died of a heart attack while she was being born, and her ... More »

RATCATCHER

Ratcatcher makes you see the world with a clearer vision, revealing layers beneath the surface, capturing the richness of everyday life. The film is set in a tattered Glasgow during a 1970s garbage ... More »

HOTEL SPLENDIDE

Situated on a remote windswept English island. Hotel Sptendide is accessible only by a monthly ferry Kalh (Toni Collette) arrives, after a five year absence, with a mysterious note urging her to ... More »

ROMANCE

''Perhaps the most uncompromising and startling film screened at this year's Rotterdam Film Festival was Catherine Breillat's Romance, which follows a young married woman's descent into sexual ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director