Director Neil Jordan’s exquisite labor of love about the titular Irish freedom fighter (Neeson, who plays the man’s burning desire to end British rule with tempered fury) didn’t meet with much affection at the box office. It may not have helped that as the film hit theaters, the provisional IRA, a splinter of the group that Michael Collins helped organize about 80 years ago, was continuing a series of renewed attacks. But in the less politically charged climate of one’s own home, Jordan’s brooding biopic, Michael Collins, (shot in moody grays and browns that have translated well to tape) plays more as an epic than a polemic, mythologizing the last six years in the life of a passionate, cunning, good-humored leader. Historical liberties and a glossed-over romantic subplot aside, this is an altogether stirring introduction to the ongoing Irish-British conflict. A-

Michael Collins
  • Movie
  • 133 minutes