Kill The Irishman
by George Sax
Every so often, some filmmakers or critics will decide that a movie genre needs refurbishing and that a new movie may do just that. The two filmed versions of True Grit, the 1968 original and this year’s Coen brothers’ production, have both been referred to as Westerns with restorative, category-bending potential. But if one reviewer’s recent comment, that Jonathan Hensleigh’s Kill the Irishman is the best gangster movie since Martin Scorcese’s Goodfellas, is on target then things must be even worse than many of us assumed.
Hensleigh’s episodic, based-on-a-true-story version of the Cleveland, Ohio underworld’s interactions and civil wars in the 1970s is crude and uninvolving. It doesn’t even supply a modicum of cheap generic thrills and satisfactions. Kill the Irishman traces the rise and fall of one Danny Greene (Ray Stevenson) and the disintegrative impact his entrepreneurial expansion in the city’s rackets had on organized crime there. It’s narrated by a rather puffy-looking Val Kilmer, playing a police detective with mob-tracking expertise, although the movie gives little evidence of his astuteness. Not even the appearances of the reliable Paul Sorvino and the usually interestingly off-kilter Christopher Walken, as gangland big shots Greene antagonizes, can add much diversion to this dreary, violent effort.
Watch the trailer for Kill The Irishman
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