Ordinary Decent Criminal

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With Irish gangster Martin Cahill's life and crimes already filmed twice (as John Boorman's The General and David Blair's superior TV movie Vicious Circle), this third version of the same events is belated and superfluous. Pitched between cartoonish caper and knockabout farce, it also suffers from an uneven tone compounded by Damon Albarn's relentlessly jaunty soundtrack. Renamed Michael Lynch (Spacey, ludicrously miscast), the Cahill character goes through the motions as before, dividing his affections between his wife and her sister, robbing banks and relishing his status as public irritant No. 1. But his decision to taunt the police with the theft of an unsellable Caravaggio painting is an act of hubris that undermines his Robin Hood persona, alienates his loyal gang members and stresses him out. Occasional topical allusions aside, this could be taking place anywhere, especially as the stripping away of the social and political context extends to playing fast and loose with the facts. Fiorentino flounders in the thinly written role of Lynch's wife, leaving the supporting players such as Baxendale (as her sister) and Mullan (as his increasingly disenchanted henchman) to anchor the centrifugal action.

Release details

Duration: 94 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Thaddeus O'Sullivan
Screenwriter: Gerard Stembridge
Cast: Kevin Spacey
Linda Fiorentino
Peter Mullan
Stephen Dillane
Helen Baxendale
David Hayman
Patrick Malahide
Gerard McSorley
David Kelly
Gary Lydon
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