Michael Collins

Written and directed: Neil Jordan Starring: Liam Neeson, Julia Roberts, Aidan Quinn, Alan Rickman, Sean McGinley and Stephen Rea. Nominated for two Oscars. Plot: After the disastrous defeat of Irish rebels by superior British forces during the Easter Week rebellion of 1916, Michael Collins develops new strategies for the independence of Ireland. His tactics include what is now recognized as urban guerrilla tactics and organized assassinations of G-Men, those Irish who work as informers for the British, and later members of British intelligence. Although Collins is conflicted about the necessity of this violent course, by 1921 the British are willing to negotiate and Sinn Fein President Eamon de Valera sends a reluctant Collins to London to negotiate a settlement. When Collins returns with a compromise of a divided Ireland and an Irish Free State, not a Republic, he is vilified by de Valera and repudiated by lifelong friend Harry Boland after Boland learns that his girlfriend Kitty Kiernan is in love with Collins, not him. Collins is now faced with civil war as he struggles against those who insist on complete freedom for all of Ireland. Locations: Locations that were used for Michael Collins include Rathdrum Square, where Michael Collins addresses a large crowd. This scene simulated an actual public meeting of nationalists who listened to a public appeal by The Big Man, in favour of a war-ending treaty with Great Britain. Some of the love scenes with Julia Roberts were shot upstairs in The Woolpack pub in the square in Rathdrum. Hollywood Glen was used for the location where the ambush and assassination of Michael Collins takes place. The Carlisle sports grounds on the Quinsboro Road in Bray were used for the dramatic re-enactment of the atrocious shootings in Croke Park in Dublin. Other scenic locations include Glencree, Lough Dan, Greenan, Glenmalure and Aghavanagh. Info: Despite containing several brutal scenes of violence, the film was given a very lenient ‘PG’ rating in Ireland mainly because of its historical context. The censor issued a press statement defending his decision claiming the film was a landmark in Irish cinema and that he believed “because of the subject matter, parents should have the option of making their own decision as to whether their children should see the film or not”. The Film subsequently became the second most successful movie ever released in Ireland. Tom Cruise was offered the ‘Jonathan Rhys-Meyers’ cameo of the Assassin. This film was originally going to be a Kevin Costner feature. View Michael Collins in a larger map

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