Kill the Irishman (2011)
Over the summer of 1976, thirty-six bombs detonate in the heart of Cleveland while a turf war raged between Irish mobster Danny Greene (Ray Stevenson) and the Italian mafia. Based on a true story, KILL THE IRISHMAN chronicles Greene's heroic rise from a tough Cleveland neighborhood to become an enforcer in the local mob. Turning the tables on loan shark Shondor Birns (Christopher Walken) and allying himself with gangster John Nardi (Vincent D'Onofrio), Greene stops taking orders from the mafia and pursues his own power. Surviving countless assassination attempts from the mob and killing off anyone who went after him in retaliation, Danny Greene's infamous invincibility and notorious fearlessness eventually led to the collapse of mafia syndicates across the U.S. and also earned him the status of the man the mob couldn't kill. Written and directed by Jonathan Hensleigh and also starring Val Kilmer, Paul Sorvino and Linda Cardellini, KILL THE IRISHMAN is inspired by Rick Porello's true crime account "To Kill The Irishman: The War That Crippled The Mafia." -- (C) Anchor Bay … More
Related News & Features
Five Favorite Films with Ray Stevenson
– Rotten Tomatoes
Critics Consensus: Battle: Los Angeles Loses The Fight
– Rotten Tomatoes
No Friends? Inconceivable! Log in to see what your friends have to say.Login
Critic Reviews for Kill the Irishman
Hensleigh romanticizes Greene and doesn't have a very nuanced understanding of labor racketeering. That said, he does possess a fine eye for shabby urban landscapes and a nice way with explosions.
The cast makes up for some occasionally spotty storytelling and telegraphing of events that keep "Irishman" from being as good as it could have been.
What makes this film special and memorable is the character of Danny Green, who is not the usual neighborhood hoodlum you see in movies, the kind who gets in deep and gradually loses his soul.
Stevenson is big and swarthy and not altogether without credibility, but he's got as much charisma as a potato.
The problem is that writer-director Jonathan Hensleigh doesn't do much beyond filling in the template; he's telling the specific, true-life tale of mob decline in 1970s Cleveland, but every character and setpiece feels like it fell off a truck.
There's an irresistible, Cleveland-esque, underdog quality about this whole production.
KILL THE IRISHMAN should be appreciated as an important look at the way Greene affected the mob and crimes back in the late 70s.
A synthesis of stuff we've seen in every gangster movie since the '70s
Hensleigh wields the techniques with a sure hand and uses them to construct a compelling, engaging narrative, but at the same time seasoned viewers will constantly feel a nagging sense of familiarity.
A certain clenched-fist tonality to the picture that helps it wade through routine, and it's nice to see the city of Cleveland used for change when detailing the horrors and intimidation of mob rule, giving NYC the day off.
It's not just that the movie appears to find Greene far more charming than he was in Porrello's book. It's that Kill the Irishman never brings either freshness or energy to its tale. In the end, even the many explosions seem tired.
It's great summer night slumming cinema, with an integral moral complexity that doesn't intrude but guides the action.
Certainly the filmmakers rounded up the right cast of tough-guy actors for this story of mob activity, but their presence doesn't lend much vigor to this unfocused and sentimental tale.
...suffers from the twin deficits of a charm-free leading man and a screenplay that seems composed of dialogue and scenes written and then discarded by writers working on better films.
Hey, "Kill the Irishman." "The Sopranos" called. It wants its actors back. Along with everything else you borrowed.
Rushed and simplistic, with little sense of its characters as people or the flavor of their time and place.
[Stevenson is] crazily charismatic here, a blend of brash cockiness and sensitivity, and he makes a satisfying film even better.
Will hardly replace the classic gangster flicks, but it's a pretty good little account of an episode in American mob history that had surprisingly wide-ranging ramifications.
Audience Reviews for Kill the Irishman
There isn't a single frame in "Kill the Irishman" that is of any originality, and I truly mean that. The dialogue is flat, the direction and cinematography are uninspired, and almost every character is some sort of mob-movie stereotype. The structure and narration (from Val Kilmer; who's character has little reason to exist) have been employed for the soul purpose of drawing comparisons to other, mostly superior movies. Even the score plays as self parody, inducing unintentional chuckles during what are supposed to be dramatic scenes. But even with all that is mind, "Kill the Irishman" is still a highly entertaining gangster story that benefits from it's fact-based narrative and the highly underrated charisma of Ray Stevenson in the lead. This is all really derivative, but nevertheless well staged, well performed and it gets better as it moves along. Enjoyable fluff for a rainy day.More
Really good drama that brought twists, turns and suspense to a real life gangster story. The suspense of the story line is taunt with superb acting, and a tight script. Ray Stevenson was wonderful in this, and was well supported by a host of very familiar faces...even Christopher Walken. Good job!More
Excellent movie about Danny Green and the Cleveland Mafia during the seventies. Lots of action will keep you interested all 1hr and 46 minutes. 4 1/2 Stars 3-1-13More
This is a fun little romp based on the rousing true story of Danny Greene- an Irish hood who waged a turf war with the Mafia all throughout the 1970s in Cleveland, and basically caused the downfall of the mob's activities in that region.
Now, Greene was no saint, but he was a noble guy who had a great sense of personal pride and ethics. He went from low level trouble maker to union boss, to hood, to Mafia enemy #1 in just a few short years. And his story is both really fascinating, and a lot of fun. Heck, he survived so many assassination attempts that part of the movie actually becomes rather comical.
To bring this story to life, writer/director Jonathan Hensleigh (The Punisher (2004 version)) assembled one heck of a lineup including another person involved with the Punisher (Punisher War Zone), Ray Stevenson in the lead as Greene. Filling out the roles as various mob figures, union guys, and cops are Vincent D'onofrio, Christopher Walken, Val Kilmer, Bob Gunton, and tons of THAT GUYS! like Robert Davi and a bunch of others. Oh yeah, and Linda Cardellini as Greene's wife.
This is quite a set up and notabel cast, and, thankfully their efforts don't go to waste. The period details are great, the story is really interesting and enjoyable, and the performances are all pretty solid for the most part. Yes, the movie does somewhat come off as a Scorsese rehash, but I never felt like the film was a total ripoff, but rather just an homage. Of course, given the impact of MS, it's really pretty hard to not make a film like this without garnering such accusations.
All in all, this is a worthwhile film that fans of the cast or the subject matter should definitely check out. I had no idea that the events in the movie actually did happen, but man, it's some wild stuff that definitely has me wanting to learn more about the actual exploits of the so-called "Man the Mafia couldn't kill".
Kill the Irishman Quotes
- Danny Greene:
- Is that all you got? Gonna take more than a few firecrackers, to kill DANNY GREENE!
- Joe Manditski:
- You really think the luck of the Irish is going to save you?
- Joe Manditski:
- I will cut your fucking heart out with a rusty butter knife and eat it while it's still beating.
- Danny Greene:
- How did the entire Polish firing squad die? They stood in a circle.
- Danny Greene:
- What do you do if a Polack throws a grenade at you? You pull the pin out and throw it back.
- Danny Greene:
- That all you got? It's gonna take more than a few firecrackers to kill Danny Green.
Discuss Kill the Irishman on our Movie forum!