The General - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The General Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ March 17, 2012
A criative screenplay and terrific direction, just like the acting, The General is a great motion picture. Fresh.
½ April 12, 2015
Great acting, funny plot. John Voigt and Brendan Gleeson face off as "The general" and Irish criminal robs everything imaginable, from pennies in an arcade to a beautiful Vermeer. He lives with two sisters and sleeps with both, robs presents for his nine children by the two women. Seems like the ideal life, but Boorman does show how the likeable Cahill spends a lot of time in lock up, and has to deal with henchmen who are drug addicts and incestuous molesters. This modern Robin Hood, who wins his community over by gifts of food and diapers, falls afoul of the Irish Republican Army, the bête noire of the author of the book the movie is based on. Fast paced, lol-worthy.
½ July 22, 2014
It's overlong and surprisingly boring, but The General is a well-acted, witty re-telling of a modern Robin Hood.
½ June 26, 2014
Not sure why this film is in black and white, and i am definitely sure this drama makes some really bad choices with the music. Its like bad 80's porn music. besieds brendan gleeson being great there is nothing good about this movie. Maybe i have seen to many films similar to this that have come after that are better.
April 28, 2014
Written and directed by John Boorman, (Deliverance (1972), Excalibur (1981) and Hope and Glory (1987)), this crime drama was based on the true life story of Martin Cahill, who was one of Ireland's most notorious criminals during the 1980's. Shot in a very stark and moody black and white, Boorman makes a very atmospheric and tense drama, which has some very good performances throughout. Martin Cahill (Brendan Gleeson), whose daring robberies made him a hero with the Dublin underworld as well as the masses. However, his activities attract the attention of the Garda Síochána, led by Inspector Ned Kenny (Jon Voight), who wants to see Cahill brought to justice, however, he always manages to get away with it, and despite some small sentences, he's never brought to justice for his crimes, and the Garda had Cahill under watch. But Cahill always managed to get out and do more crimes, but he's on borrowed time. The film came about as Boorman was a victim of Cahill's crimewave, (he made off with a gold record Boorman had for Deliverance), but it manages to be compelling and a good picture of the Irish underbelly, and one of it's most notorious criminals/heroes, and it helped put Gleeson on the map in Hollywood.
Super Reviewer
September 2, 2013
I thought the movie is about some military general. And quite a brave one for that matter, when the beginning describes him as a legend. Apparently, I was amazed when it turned out about some legendary Irish criminal who pulled out heists outwitting the legal authorities. While ruthless and mean to the rest of the world, Martin Cahill cared enough for his family. He even extended his generosity to his sister-in-law. The way he embarrassed the police authorities was a stroke of brilliance. Jon Voight, playing Ned Kelly, does fair enough as an Inspector who is now and again left in an embarrassing position by Martin as he seems to get a kick out of it. Brendan Gleeson portrays Cahill outstandingly. He's simply par excellence. However, his covering the face with one hand constantly caused me a bit of irritation initially. But after a while, I got used to it. How's one to know (if need be, let it be known that there are always exceptions) that the legendary Martin too used to do so for real. Quite an intriguing & worthwhile stuff, and that too based on real events. Sufficient & efficient enough for me. Might not have been so appealing with the foreknowledge about this incredible scumbag, infamously known as The General.
½ December 12, 2008
I loved everything. The whacky humor in the midst of violence and deception, Brendan Gleeson's subversive performance, Seamus Deasy's lush black-and-white photography, and John Boorman's loving direction.
August 10, 2012
a must see irish movie with non other than the greatest irish actor brendan gleeson. i met a girl in a pub before and she looked like brenda gilson i said to her hi you look like brenda gilson, and she said eh yeah whatever, so i said yeah you defo look like brendan gleeson ugly bitch...
March 2, 2012
All the performances are impressive in this movie. A must see.
½ January 22, 2011
One of the best films of 1998 that nobody knew about. Shame.
½ October 1, 2012
Brilliant, and Jon Voight's accent is actually serviceable.
April 4, 2012
Pure perfection. Director John Boorman has crafted a nifty black and white angster tale.
½ February 15, 2012
Quite dull. Could have been a good crime-drama, and the subject was reasonably interesting, but ends up being a conventional biopic, with all punches pulled. There is very little explanation of Marin Carhill's behaviour, why things happened as they did, or why he met his fate in such a manner. The story is told very superficially, seeming to prefer concentrating on making Carhill some sort of jolly Santa Claus-like folk hero, rather than providing the gory details of his life.

Brendon Gleeson is OK as Carhill. I found the folksiness of his character irritating though, but that could be the director's fault. Good support from Adrian Dunbar, Sean McGinley, Maria Doyle Kennedy and Angeline Ball. (Interesting to note that Doyle Kennedy and Ball starred together in The Commitments too).

Now, why on earth did they have to cast American Jon Voight in one of the major roles, as the police inspector? He brought nothing to the role and surely an Irish actor would have done a better job.
hunterjt13
Super Reviewer
December 5, 2011
A thief, pursued by an old friend from the neighborhood, evades the cops and the IRA.
Brendan Gleeson is fantastic as the eponymous character; he's both awkward and wily, not looking the part of the thief but pulling it off believably. The rest of the supporting cast supports Gleeson admirably, but even Jon Voight doesn't deliver a stand-out performance.
The story is fairly basic -- a crime drama in which the criminal cleverly eludes his pursuers -- and I can't say that by the end of the film I cared about the characters. The film is so evenly presented that I wondered what it was saying. What is unique about this criminal that we haven't seen before besides his physique (compare Gleeson to George Clooney's Danny Ocean)?
Overall, there's not a lot to feel strongly about in this film except Gleeson's superb performance.
½ November 24, 2011
Neither Boorman's wonderful cinematography nor Gleeson's witty performance make you really care about the story and its characters.
October 17, 2011
This guy is an amazing actor and this is one of his great films, you probably have seen him in 28 days, or on lake tahoo, this is an awesome film, its based on a real story, i phucking loved it.
Movie Dick OVER & OUT
½ August 8, 2011
Good film. I'd never heard of "The General". I wonder how much of this script is factual. It is odd the wife would share her husband with her sister! Gary sleeps with his daughter; priests raping boys. Is this true Irish culture? Twisted if it is. The General was as the grandma said, a thieving murderer. Good acting.
Super Reviewer
July 2, 2011
John Boorman delicately handles the life of a criminal. It's always a tough job to do because these are horrible people. They thrive on false placed loyalty and self pity that their lives aren't better. The film succeeds as it presents Cahill (accurately or not) as a mischievous little devil. His crimes are often funny, as is his relationship with the police. Like a good film should, it gradually shows his physical and mental deterioration. It isn't long before he is taken over by paranoia, and when the police begin to use his own form of harassment against him, we see a broken and sad man. As the film progresses, we see his associates as they truly are. Drugs addicts, sex offenders, terrorists, we get the sense that Cahill realises he is not the romanticised character he is. Great stuff all round, with a moody saxophone score, and stunning performances.
June 15, 2011
This movie was awesome!!!
April 11, 2011
Brendan Gleeson is up there with the best. His character is well known in Ireland and Gleeson with Boorman bring a convincing and realistic version of this man to our screens.
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