Michael Collins (1996)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Political Drama, Biopic [feature]  |   Run Time - 132 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom, Ireland, United States  |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Brendon Hanley

Writer-director Neil Jordan's most remarkable strength might be his ability to create a rich sense of time and place. The best of his films seamlessly combine story and atmospheric visuals, a quality evident in Michael Collins, his biopic about the legendary Irish freedom fighter. With the help of cinematographer Chris Menges and production designer Anthony Pratt, Jordan splendidly re-creates Ireland of the 1910s and 1920s, refurbishing actual locations to realistically evoke the era. Some felt that Jordan misrepresented certain events, mythologizing a man whom many consider a terrorist; it's clear, however, that his is a very subjective, personalized portrait. Liam Neeson's portrayal of the charismatic title character is as strong as his work in 1993's Schindler's List, though he would be all but forgotten in the year-end awards races. Menges would receive an Academy Award nomination for his camerawork.