Rolling Stone - 01/21/1999
"...[A] remarkable true story....Jon Voight is uncannily good..."
Sight and Sound - 06/01/1998
"...Subtle and absorbing....THE GENERAL boasts a heady, epic sweep....A fragment of folklore that speaks of and to our times..."
Entertainment Weekly - 01/22/1999
"...[Shows us] a uniquely ramshackle brand of criminal genius....Discipline and focus..."
USA Today - 12/18/1998
"...Boorman flawlessly handles his actors and expertly orchestrates action in one of the widest-looking black-and-white Panavision frames since 1967's IN COLD BLOOD..."
New York Times - 12/18/1998
"...Canny, elegant....[Filmed] in such seductively beautiful black and white that it has the visual precision of a photo essay..."
Box Office - 07/01/1998
"...In THE GENERAL, director John Boorman is back in top form....Extremely accomplished direction.....Boorman adeptly mixes humor along with the crime and violence..."
Premiere - 12/01/1998
"...Boorman's script transforms almost every event depicted in the movie into a miniature theme....Boorman makes all his allusions work..."
Chicago Sun-Times - 01/22/1999
"...Boorman's narrative style has a nice offhand feel about it..."
Ultimate DVD - 07/01/2006 4 stars out of 5 -- "[A] provocative and entertaining biopic....It's a riveting watch."
Total Film - 09/01/2006 4 stars out of 5 -- "[A] mischievous biopic of Irish master-criminal Martin Cahill."
Uncut - 09/01/2006 4 stars out of 5 -- "Straightforward but solid biopic of celebrated Dublin gangster Martin Cahill from DELIVERANCE director John Boorman."
Brendan Gleeson stars as Martin Cahill, the leading Irish criminal of the 1980s. A protean figure, Cahill was a man of extraordinary intelligence, obsessive secretiveness, and vicious brutality who was never stopped by the Irish police despite having pocketed more than $60 million of other people's money. He was also capable of generosity to those in need and exuded a contagious joie de vivre that made him a hero to Ireland's poor and working-class population.
Born into poverty in the slums of Hollyfield, Cahill ends up in reform school after robbing a local merchant. Given his abilities, his rise in the world of crime is swift, abetted by a violent streak that has him nailing a partner to a pool table when he mistakently suspects him of talking to the cops. His creative domestic arrangements have him married to Frances (Maria Doyle Kennedy) while also begetting children with her sister, Tina (Angeline Ball). Although he enjoyed mocking every form of authority from the church and the government to the IRA, he had an unspoken bond with police inspector Ned Kenny (Jon Voight), who curses himself for allowing this latter-day Celtic chieftain to charm even a cop. A completely engrossing film anchored by the brilliant Gleeson and a terrific supporting cast, THE GENERAL was shot by director John Boorman in color and printed in crisp black and white.
THE GENERAL is director John Boorman's lively telling of the true-life story of Martin Cahill, a small-time Dublin thief who managed to offend the police, IRA, and UVF by rejecting all of their institutions. Shot in gorgeous black-and-white, Boorman--who actually felt the wrath of Cahill when his home was broken into--presents Cahill as an idealistic, likeable dreamer who never found a place to fit in, even as a child.
Theatrical release: December 18, 1998.
Shot on location in Dublin and Wicklow, Ireland.
Martin Cahill once broke into director John Boorman's house, stealing the DUELING BANJOS gold record from DELIVERANCE, an episode included in the film.
Actor Brendan Gleason learned to ride a motorcyle to play the Harley-loving thief.
Eamonn Owens, star of Neil Jordan's THE BUTCHER BOY, plays Cahill as a child.