BluRay/DVD Reviews

KILL THE IRISHMAN

By • Jun 23rd, 2011 •

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I love mafia movies. CASINO, GOODFELLAS, THE GODFATHER, and DONNIE BRASCO are all great mob movies with smart dialogue, an inner look into the world of the mafia, and suave powerful men with really snazzy suits. How can there be a mob film without Pacino, DeNiro, Pesci, Scorsese and Stevenson? Stevenson? Who’s that guy?

Exactly.

Ray Stevenson stars as Irish mobster Danny Greene in the film KILL THE IRISHMAN directed by Jonathan Hensleigh and based on the book “To Kill the Irishman” by Rick Porrello. The film follows the true story of the rise of Danny Greene from longshoreman to union president, and FBI informant to a major player in the inner workings of the Cleveland crime syndicate.

Danny has a copacetic relationship with the mob until a deal goes sour with loan shark Shondor Birns played brilliantly by Christopher Walken. Danny asked Birns for a loan to open up a restaurant. Birns sends his own courier to New York to get the money from the Gambino crime family. There is only one hitch. The courier uses the money to buy cocaine and ends up getting busted by the police. Birns wants Danny to pay off the loan with interest and Danny refuses to pay back money he never received. The end result? Birns puts out a contract on Danny. A bomb is put into his car and guess what? This guy actually survives! Retaliation ensues and as Danny Greene and partner John Nardi (Vincent D’Onfirio) take on the Cleveland mob, a war escalates for power. Danny becomes a legend and local hero in his neighborhood. He survives countless bombing and shootings and is known as a “Celtic Warrior” and “The Robin Hood of Collinwood”. This guy has nine lives. The mob can’t seem to kill him, or can they?

As in every mob film there is a lot of violence and this film doesn’t disappoint. There are car bombings, shootouts, and guys getting the life beat out of them. All this is juxtaposed with scenes of loyalty, friendship, and love. Danny protects and provides for his wife (Linda Cardellini) and later his young girlfriend. In the beginning of the film he settles a gambling debt with the mob for his friend and later has to decide whether to kill him or not. What a guy.

There are also a slew of mob characters, some of which are played by notable actors from other mob films. There is even the hardworking detective character played by Val Kilmer, who unnecessarily narrates the film.

KILL THE IRISHMAN is no GOLDFELLAS or CASINO. There are no suave guys with snazzy suits. But the rest of it is there. It may take a couple of viewings to like this film. It certainly did with me. This isn’t your cool mafia film. It’s not Hollywood. It’s a bit more gritty and real. The special feature on the disc is the documentary, “Danny Greene: The Rise and Fall of the Irishman”. This short is worth taking a look at, as it describes in further detail, with photos and original news reports, Danny Greene and the Cleveland mob scene. You won’t be disappointed.

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