The General
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John Boorman, who won the 1998 Cannes Film Festival's Direction award for this film, previously won the same Cannes award almost three decades earlier for his Leo the Last (1969) about an alienated aristocrat in a London slum. Shot in widescreen color (but printed in sharp black-and-white), The General is a biographical portrait of ruthless Irish crime lord Martin Cahill, shot down outside his home by a single assassin on August 18, 1994. After this opening, the film then unfolds as a lengthy flashback of the events that led to his death, sketching in the raw beginnings of the youthful… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 81%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"I can no longer stomach the premise in so many Anglo-American crime pictures that mavericks are admirable simply because they're mavericks"
‑ Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
"The General is a refined, traditional movie about a character who is never more traditional than when he imagines himself outside the law. It's a great paradox, but it barely comes alive on the screen."
‑ Amy Taubin, Village Voice
"Before he was Mad Eye Moody, before he took Colin Farrell to the woodshed "In Bruges," before "The Guard," the great Irish actor Brendan Gleeson was the infamous Irish crook known as "The General.""
‑ Roger Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service
"Enjoyable for what it is; problem is, what it is doesn't amount to much in the end."
‑ Michael Dequina,
"The most lyric crime picture since Band of Outsiders, with a sublime performance by Gleeson at its core."
‑ Jake Euker, F5 (Wichita, KS)
"A movie that says more about the rebellious Irish psyche than a heap of overtly political pictures."
‑ Derek Elley, Variety
"Gleeson is one of those rare actors who has an instinctive rapport with the audience from the moment he appears on-screen."
‑ Charles Taylor,
"The General is a welcome return to basics for Britain's most adventurous and visionary director, who has always stayed faithful to his love of cinema."
‑ , Film4
"An interesting, entertaining view into the life of an Irish crime legend who is almost a Robin Hood, but not quite."
‑ Robin Clifford, Reeling Reviews
"The film glides on seriocomic wings and whisks us rapturously away. It ranks with Boorman's own classic crime film Point Blank (1967), and that's high praise."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
"All the performances are impressive, but Gleeson and Voight are especially memorable, lending an almost tragic air of inexorability to Cahill and Kenny's cat-and-mouse games."
‑ Geoff Andrew, Time Out
"Boorman's film is shot in wide-screen black and white, and as it often does, black and white emphasizes the characters and the story, instead of setting them awash in atmosphere."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"The film has little of the visual dazzle often associated with Boorman's movies, but the somber, black-and-white cinematography helps even out the often larger-than-life tone."
‑ Ken Fox, TV Guide's Movie Guide
"Neither Boorman's cinematic expertise nor Gleeson's canny performance is enough to make us care about Cahill's destruction."
‑ Judith Egerton, Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY)
"A well-made film, but a hard one to actually like."
‑ Luke Y. Thompson, New Times
More reviews for The General on Rotten Tomatoes