Michael Collins

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +3 1/2

Content: -2 1/2

This real life story of a fierce, dedicated leader in the fight for Ireland's freedom from England in the early 1900's is fascinating. Michael Collins is the young driven leader and Liam Neeson brilliantly brings his character to life. When the Irish revolutionaries fail in the 1916 Easter Uprising in Dublin, Collins organizes a brazen secret force known as the Irish Volunteers. Using guerilla tactics, they seem to strike from nowhere at the British army and police. In retaliation, the British bring in a brutal paramilitary force to quell the rebellion. What follows is six years of bloody encounters, battles and executions. Oddly enough, Collins is eventually responsible for negotiating a cease fire treaty with the British. But many of his fellow revolutionaries feel betrayed and find themselves battling Collins and his followers instead of the British. MICHAEL COLLINS is a powerful film with superb acting, suspense and pathos. And a romantic attraction between Collins and a beautiful genteel lady played by Julia Roberts gives the story added appeal.

With almost continuous conflicts and battles, the film is filled with bloody shootings, beatings, hangings, and destruction of property by fire and explosions. When British secret agents are shot at close range in guerilla like executions, the British retaliate by massive machine gunning of professional Irish soccer teams and fans. Even so, none of this violence is gratuitous and is a legitimate portrayal of historical events. The film's most disappointing element is the use of the many f-words and profanities by Collins himself. At times, some of his companions admonish him for using such language, but with little effect. The film would have been just as powerful and realistic without it. On the other hand, Michael never becomes sexually involved with his lady friend and is genuinely concerned about the fate of his companions and the peace of the country. Hollywood has again spoiled another good film with its obsession for foul language.

Preview Reviewer: John Evans
Warner Brothers, 4000 Warner Blvd., Burbank, CA 91522

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (10) timesMild 8, Moderate 2

Obscene Language: Many (22) times (f-word 19, s-word 3)

Profanity: Many (16) timesRegular 15 (JC, J, C, Christ's sake), Exclamatory once (Oh God)

Violence: Almost continuousModerate and Severe (bloody gun, cannon and hand fighting and killings; graphic beatings, hangings and point blank shootings; men set on fire, bloody victims, machine gun killings, buildings and homes destroyed by fire and explosions)

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Few times (beer and whiskey drinking in pubs and restaurants)

Other: Man admonished for using foul language; man prays in church

Running Time:
Intended Audience: Adults

Click HERE for a PRINTER-FRIENDLY version of this review.