March is considered by many to be Irish heritage month and means it’s time for green beer, fun floats and historical reflection on what it is to be Irish. But what if parades and history channel specials aren’t your thing? Well that is why we have movies, and what is a better way to celebrate the heritage than by relaxing to a great film about what it is to be Irish in America? Below are three great portrayals of being Irish in modern America.
Marvel’s Irish-American vigilante is stunningly brought to like by Ben Affleck in this 2003 action thriller. While not a particularly great film by any measure, 2003’s Daredevil does do is keep an adherence to the book’s dark grit and semi-noir storylines as Daredevil takes on the notorious Wilson “Kingpin” Fisk. Of all Marvel’s books Daredevil has probably the most truest portrayal of how life is; a constant battle of dark and light. It is this constant struggle of living in the gray area that the film portrays best, often showing him perched atop the steeple of a church as Batman would a gargoyle. So while Daredevil wasn’t the greatest superhero film, its respect to the culture of its source material is reason enough for me to include here. If you saw this film in theaters and hated it, but are a fan of Murdock’s comic adventures check out the “R” cut for 30 minutes of actual plot that fills in the theatrical cut’s many holes. Besides, Colin Farrel’s over the top portrayal of the villain Bullseye alone is worth the price of a rental.
The Boondock Saints has become the film that people of my generation associate when they think about “Irish.” Filmed in 1999, this independent film focused on the McManus Brothers as they shoot up South Boston in a vigilante style in a quest to rid their Irish neighborhood of the encroaching Russian mob. Be on the lookout for Spiderman’s Willem Defoe in a truly gender bending performance.
The Devil’s Own
Made in 1997, this Harrison Ford thriller is just simply great Irish film but also one of my personal favorite films of all time. Brad Pitt puts in the performance of his career as Frankie McGuire, the IRA’s deadliest assassin, goes into hiding among the family of NYPD officer Tom O’Meara (Harrison Ford). Frankie and Tom become close friends as Frankie bonds with Tom’s family, with Tom unaware of Frank’s true purpose in his city. As the film reaches its climax the lines of loyalty, duty and honor begin to blur as Tom realizes each choice made could mean the end for his new best friend, or possibly himself.