Thursday 03 December 1998
Available to rent now
JOHN BOORMAN'S biopic is a romanticised version of the true-life story of Martin Cahill, the Dublin criminal who ran rings round the police and charmed Ireland with his misadventures in the Eighties and early Nineties. As Boorman tells it, Cahill was a product of the post-war housing estates, channelling his charisma and intelligence into staying one step ahead of the society he felt had abandoned him. This amounts largely to petty theft and burglary, until the prospect of a long jail sentence makes Cahill face up to securing the future of his large family. So he pulls off a multi-million-pound heist. Engineering an ingenious escape from imprisonment, Cahill lets his ambition get the better of him and suddenly he finds himself in a vice comprising the IRA and the police inspector on his case (an excellent Jon Voight).
The key to Boorman's success is the degree to which he plays up Cahill's myth. He doesn't exactly debunk him; Cahill's uproarious courtroom appearances and his preference for hanging out at the police station whenever he needs an alibi are too much fun. Rather, the washed-out monochrome of the film reflects the man's murky, bolder-than-life appeal. With the help of Brendan Gleeson's performance, menacing and gleeful by turn, it doesn't take us long to realise that Cahill is as ruthless as he is cheeky. One minute, he's sporting a daft disguise in court, the next, Boorman is at pains to make clear, he's nailing a suspected informer to a snooker table. An enjoyable, vigorous update of the Robin Hood fable, with the blarney thankfully kept under control.
The Wedding Singer (12)
Available to rent now
JUST WHEN Robbie Hart (Adam Sandler), wannabe rock star, has come to terms with his eponymous lot, his flaky bride stands him up at the altar. Not even the weekly opportunity of belting out (this being 1985) the finest that Culture Club and Kajagoogoo have to offer brings much consolation. It's up to Julia (Drew Barrymore), a waitress, to catch Robbie's eye and realise that maybe her yuppy trash beau isn't quite the ideal husband-to-be that she thinks he is.
Given that the Eighties tend to be portrayed as the decade ethics forgot, Frank Coraci's amiable comedy is at the very least remarkable for making it look so cosy. The likeable performances drive a standard boy-meets- girl plot, but it's the shameless indulgence of the era's music (Huey Lewis, Hall and Oates, The Cars) and its fashions (bandannas, white leather gloves) that stick in your mind. Good singalong fun.
TV reviewBroadcasting House was preparing for a visit from Prince Charles spoiler alert
Glastonbury Michael Eavis reveals final headline act 'most likely' British pair
Film Ewan McGregor joins star-studded Beauty and the Beast cast as Lumiere
TVThe Island with Bear Grylls under fire after male contestants kill and eat rare crocodile
Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 2 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 3 UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
- 4 Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
- 5 'Isis' schoolgirls: Missing British teenager tweets picture of her Syrian takeaway
Poldark, series 1 finale, review: How a costume drama became a Sunday night swoon-fest
Al Pacino admits he was nearly fired from The Godfather and it's still his most 'difficult role'
Warner Music owner Len Blavatnik tops Sunday Times Rich List
Game of Thrones season 5 episode 3, review: Sansa and manhood-lopping torturer Ramsay Bolton - really?
The day I starred in Only Fools and Horses
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove