|FIFTY DEAD MEN WALKING (director/writer: Kari Skogland; screenwriters: from the book by Martin McGartland & Nicholas Davies; cinematographer: Jonathan Freeman; editor: Jim Munro; music: Ben Mink; cast: (Martin McGartland), (Fergus), Kevin Zegers (Sean), Conor MacNeill (Frankie), Natalie Press (Lara), Tom Collins (Mikey), Rose McGowan (Grace); Runtime: 118; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Kari Skogland/Peter La Terriere; Phase 4 Films; 2008-UK/Canada)|
historical Irish thriller."
by Dennis Schwartz
historical Irish thriller based on British agent
Martin McGartland's autobiography of his
days as an undercover
mole in the IRA in the late 1980s.
Writer-director Kari Skogland
("The Stone Angel"/"Men With Guns"/"Banshee")
leaves us with no clear political message, but does a
good job covering the story's ethical complications
while refraining from being political. Skogland's
co-writer is Nicholas
Davies. They keep things plausible and make the
film a character-driven one more than a plot
driven tale. The conventional actioner is
pleasingly fast paced.
In 1988 in Belfast, the Brits are the
occupiers, as the IRA is waging an insurgency.
The vast innocent civilian population is caught
in the middle of this feud. Martin McGartland (
The pic gets its title from the
knowledge once an infiltrator has been
exposed to the IRA, he becomes a "dead man
walking." Martin's double life begins to get
too heavy for him when he realizes he's a
bind, as his British handlers threaten to
sell him out if he refuses to work for
McGartland's devoted intelligence agent handler is Fergus, who is smartly played by . Martin’s pal Frankie is played by Conor MacNeill. When he's kneecapped by hooded IRA men, Martin goes earnestly to work for the Brits. Nathalie Press plays Martin's child-bearing girlfriend. The outstanding performance by Sturgess, who plays his vulnerable character as a confused lad dwelling in a Belfast that is divided and volatile. It's a place where it seems everyone thinks they need a cause to rally behind.
REVIEWED ON 7/9/2015 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ