Michael Lynch (Spacey) is notoriously brazen about his crimes, yet the police detective on his case (Dillane) can't catch him red-handed. And he's also making the IRA mad by jumping the gun on scams they're planning. Lynch's personal life is just as out there--he has a wife (Fiorentino) and kids ... and more kids by his sister-in-law (Baxendale) ... and they all live as one happy family alongside his gang of loyal buddies who stage increasingly risky crimes. But Lynch is a nice guy, and the crimes have less to do with the money than with making the police angry with him. Then a major trap is set.
The performances make the film very watchable--Spacey is superb as usual, with his off-handed charm and a barely submerged razor edge underneath it. And the rest of the impressive cast is up to his standard. O'Sullivan directs with the same audacious style--breezy and edgy humour with brash, stylish flourishes that keep our interest and provide some good laughs. And probably if you haven't seen The General it'll all seem frightfully original. But it isn't. The whole story has been blatantly plagiarised from both true events and a much better film that's barely 18 months old! It doesn't merely draw from Cahill's life--this is his life (with a different ending that doesn't really work). And if the filmmakers would admit it instead of insisting that it's a work of fiction the film might be more palatable.
[themes, violence, language] 8.Dec.99
UK release 17.Mar.00
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