Fifty Dead Men Walking (2008) Poster

Fifty Dead Men Walking (2008)

  • Rate: 6.8/10 total 5,775 votes 
  • Genre: Drama | Thriller
  • Release Date: 21 August 2009 (USA)
  • Runtime: 117 min
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Fifty Dead Men Walking (2008)

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  • IMDb page: Fifty Dead Men Walking (2008)
  • Rate: 6.8/10 total 5,775 votes 
  • Genre: Drama | Thriller
  • Release Date: 21 August 2009 (USA)
  • Runtime: 117 min
  • Filming Location: Ardglass, County Down, Northern Ireland, UK
  • Budget: £6,000,000(estimated)
  • Gross: £99,440(UK)(12 April 2009)
  • Director: Kari Skogland
  • Stars: Ben Kingsley, Jim Sturgess and Kevin Zegers
  • Original Music By: Ben Mink   
  • Soundtrack: Hurricane
  • Sound Mix: Dolby Digital
  • Plot Keyword: IRA | 1980s | What Happened To Epilogue | Riot Police | Slot Machine

Writing Credits By:

  • Martin McGartland (inspired by the book "Fifty Dead Man Walking") and
  • Nicholas Davies (inspired by the book "Fifty Dead Man Walking")
  • Kari Skogland (written by)

Known Trivia

    Goofs: Anachronisms: (At 1:41:44) You can clearly see an poster add for iPhone when they are driving. iPhones were not around at the time the movie is set.

    Plot: Based on Martin McGartland's shocking real life story. Martin is a young lad from west Belfast in the… See more »  »

    Story: Based on Martin McGartland's shocking real life story. Martin is a young lad from west Belfast in the late 1980s who is recruited by the British Police to spy on the IRA. He works his way up the ranks as a volunteer for the IRA whilst feeding information to his British handler and saving lives in the process.Written by Anonymous  

    Synopsis

    Synopsis: In the 1980s when the Irish civil conflict was at its most treacherous, 22 year old Martin McGartland was recruited by the British police to infiltrate and spy on the IRA. He lived his life under constant threat of exposure and subsequent guaranteed torture and death yet he continued because his information saved many lives. He enjoyed the buzz until one day he was discovered and had to escape against all odds. Inspired by a true story, to this day he is on the run.

    Marty McGartland is a 22-year-old street hustler from Ireland, living in the 1980s. He gets noticed by the Provisional Irish Republican Army|Irish Republican Army, but thinks their cruel justice is no good. The British want to use Marty as well, because of his connection to the community undetected. The British police want him to infiltrate and spy on the IRA. Marty decides to work for the police because of his IRA dislike. He soon forgets his political preferences when his powerful position takes over. Despite fearing that the IRA will find out about his spying, he builds up a new sense of self esteem. Afraid his family and friends will be murdered if they are informed, Marty starts to lead a double life. Even his new girlfriend Lara knows nothing of his work.

    Things start to take their toll when the British sell them out. They explain their system could fall down and reveal Marty was their bait all along. The IRA capture and torture Marty, but he is able to escape. His best friend and former British police colleague finds Marty and decides to help him hide. Marty knows the IRA will turn to his family and is forced to make a decision, saving himself or his beloved ones.

     

    FullCast & Crew

    Produced By:

    • Nicole Carmen-Davis known as executive producer
    • Elsie Choi known as executive producer
    • Alice Clough known as associate producer
    • Guy Collins known as executive producer
    • Cindy Cowan known as executive producer
    • Karyn Edwards known as executive producer
    • Stephen Hegyes known as producer
    • Jo Homewood known as line producer
    • Stephen Kaye known as associate producer (as Stephen Kay)
    • Amanda Kenyon known as associate producer
    • Peter La Terriere known as producer
    • Kyle Lundberg known as executive producer
    • Stephen Margolis known as executive producer
    • Michael Ryan known as executive producer
    • Jonathan Shore known as associate producer
    • Kari Skogland known as producer
    • Shawn Williamson known as producer

    FullCast & Crew:

    • Ben Kingsley known as Fergus
    • Jim Sturgess known as Martin
    • Kevin Zegers known as Sean
    • Chris Patrick-Simpson known as Tortured Tout
    • Natalie Press known as Lara
    • Rose McGowan known as Grace
    • Tom Collins known as Mickey
    • William Houston known as Ray
    • Michael McElhatton known as Robbie
    • Laura Hughes known as Mary
    • Gerard Jordan known as Kieran
    • David Pearse known as Donovan
    • Joe Doyle known as Quinn
    • Conor MacNeill known as Frankie (as Connor McNeill)
    • Evan Harte known as Little Patrick (as Evan)
    • Oscar Harte known as Little Patrick
    • Ciaran Nolan known as Connie
    • Ali White known as Lara's Mother
    • Frankie McCafferty known as Paddy
    • Matt McArdle known as Ambulance Attendant
    • Tomas O'Suilleabhain known as RUC Officer (as Thomas O'Suilleabhain)
    • Dessie Gallagher known as Thomas – Head Officer
    • Kris Edlund known as Mrs. Conlon
    • Sheila Kerr known as Doris (as Shelia Kerr)
    • Nick Dunning known as Doctor
    • Paschal Friel known as Jana (as Pascal Friel)
    • George McMahon known as Johnny
    • Gavin O'Connor known as Officer White / RUC Officer
    • Paul Kennedy known as RUC Officer
    • Gerry Doherty known as Fred – CID
    • Derek Halligan known as McFarlane
    • James Doran known as IRA Kidnapper
    • Michael Graham known as Officer Clark
    • Anthony Brophy known as Johnathan
    • Henry Deazley known as Soldier
    • Nathan Hughes known as Waiter
    • Karen Hassan known as Mother
    • Brigid Erin Bates known as Woman (as Bridgid Erin Bates)
    • Drew Thompson known as Check Point Officer
    • Seamus Ball known as Young Man's Father
    • Jonathan Harden known as Young Man's Brother
    • Alexandra Ford known as Nurse
    • Laurence Doherty known as Owner of raided house (uncredited)
    • Damian McDonald known as Medic (uncredited)

    ..

     

    Supporting Department

    Makeup Department:
    • Kirstin Chalmers known as hair designer
    • Kirstin Chalmers known as makeup designer
    • Laura Lilley known as hair assistant
    • Laura Lilley known as makeup artist
    • Waldo Mason known as corpse effects
    • Clare Ramsey known as personal makeup artist: Sir Ben Kingsley
    • Clare Ramsey known as prosthetic supplier
    • Sian Wilson known as hair trainee
    • Sian Wilson known as makeup trainee

    Art Department:

    • Jim Barr known as dressing prop
    • Bryony Birkbeck known as production buyer
    • Dermot Blighe known as stand-by props
    • Julia Castle known as art department coordinator
    • Alan Chesters known as construction manager
    • Michael Cullen known as dressing prop
    • McCoy Dan known as painter
    • Sara Hayward known as stand-by art director
    • Tommy Hilland known as painter
    • Leon McCarthy known as assistant art director
    • Anne-Louise McGinnis known as art department runner
    • Amy Merry known as graphic designer
    • Chris Moore known as stand-by props
    • McNally Neil known as props trainee
    • David Rowney known as art department trainee
    • Paul Stewart known as property master

    ..

     

    Company

    Production Companies:

    • Handmade International (presents) (as Handmade International Films)
    • Future Films (producer)
    • Brightlight Pictures (produced in association with)
    • Future Films Production Services (produced in association with)
    • Altitude Entertainment (produced in association with)
    • SBK Pictures (produced in association with) (as SBK Pictures Limited)
    • Skogland Films (produced in association with)
    • Téléfilm Canada (produced with the participation of) (as Telefilm Canada)
    • Northern Ireland Screen (produced with the participation of)
    • Grove Media Finance (produced with the participation of) (as Grove Media Finance Limited)
    • Horizon Media Fund (produced with the participation of)
    • Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit (CPTC) (produced with the participation of)

    Other Companies:

    • ARRI Media  camera equipment
    • Axis Films  camera equipment
    • BBC Motion Gallery  footage provided by
    • Background, The  group adr and voice casting
    • Compuhire  24 frame playback
    • De Lane Lea  adr facility (as DeLane Lea)
    • Eastside Communications  publicity: Germany)
    • Film Finances Canada  completion guarantor
    • Kodak  motion picture film supplied by
    • Line 21 Media Services Ltd.  closed captioning
    • Line 21 Media Services Ltd.  combined dialogue, continuity & spotting list
    • Line 21 Media Services Ltd.  post-production script
    • MovieScore Media  soundtrack
    • Production Depot  camera equipment provided by
    • Screen Scene  adr facility
    • Sharpe Sound Studios  audio post-production
    • Shoot NI  phones and walkie talkies
    • Sonic Magic  sound post-production
    • Soundtrack  ADR Facility
    • Technicolor Creative Services  digital intermediate (as Technicolor Creative Services, Vancouver)
    • Technicolor Creative Services  dailies services (as Technicolor Creative Services, London)

    Distributors:

    • Cathay-Keris Films (2009) (Singapore) (theatrical)
    • European Film Partners (EFP) (2009) (Netherlands) (theatrical)
    • Metrodome Distribution (2009) (UK) (theatrical)
    • Phase 4 Films (2009) (USA) (theatrical)
    • TVA Films (2009) (Canada) (theatrical)
    • Zon Lusomundo Audiovisuais (2009) (Portugal) (theatrical)
    • Ascot Elite Home Entertainment (2009) (Germany) (DVD)
    • FS Film Oy (2009) (Finland) (all media)
    • Film1 (2010) (Netherlands) (TV) (limited)
    • Imagem Filmes (2009) (Brazil) (DVD)
    • Indies Home Entertainment (2010) (Netherlands) (DVD) (Blu-ray)
    • Indies Home Entertainment (2010) (Netherlands) (DVD) (retail)
    • Metrodome Video Ltd. (2009) (UK) (DVD)
    • Metrodome Video Ltd. (2009) (UK) (DVD) (Blu-ray)
    • Movie Bank (2009) (Netherlands) (DVD) (rental)
    • Odeon (2011) (Greece) (all media)
    • Phase 4 Films (2009) (USA) (DVD)
    • Phase 4 Films (2009) (USA) (DVD) (Blu-ray)
    • Roadshow Entertainment (2010) (Australia) (DVD)
    • Svensk Filmindustri (SF) (2009) (Sweden) (DVD)

    ..

     

    Other Stuff

    Special Effects:

    • Technicolor Creative Services (visual effects) (as Technicolor Creative Services, Vancouver)

    Visual Effects by:

    • Dan Brittain known as digital compositor
    • Christopher Elke known as visual effects producer: Technicolor Vancouver
    • John Fukushima known as digital compositor
    • Doug Oddy known as visual effects supervisor
    • Persis Reynolds known as visual effects executive producer: Technicolor Vancouver
    • Matt Yeoman known as digital compositor

    Release Date:

    • Canada 10 September 2008 (Toronto International Film Festival)
    • Germany 5 February 2009 (European Film Market)
    • Turkey 6 April 2009 (Istanbul Film Festival)
    • Ireland 10 April 2009
    • UK 10 April 2009
    • Bulgaria 17 April 2009
    • Israel 23 April 2009
    • USA May 2009 (Seattle International Film Festival)
    • Greece 11 June 2009
    • Brazil 24 June 2009 (DVD premiere)
    • Singapore 9 July 2009
    • Sweden 29 July 2009 (DVD premiere)
    • Canada 31 July 2009 (limited)
    • USA 8 August 2009 (Rhode Island International Film Festival)
    • Netherlands 20 August 2009
    • USA 21 August 2009
    • Spain 13 November 2009
    • Kuwait 26 August 2010
    • Portugal 30 September 2010
    • Germany 30 September 2011 (DVD premiere)

    MPAA: Rated R for strong brutal violence and torture, language and some sexuality

    ..

     
     

    Filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database


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    Posted on March 30, 2012 by Harry in Movies | Tags: , , .

    10 Comments

    1. sweet_lady_genevieve from United Kingdom
      30 Mar 2012, 9:17 pm

      Set in 1980s Belfast, when the Troubles were devastating NorthernIreland; this is the story of 22 year-old Martin McGartland (Sturgess)who, in real life, became involved implicitly with both sides of theconflict. The film details how he worked firstly for the IRA and wassubsequently sought after and enlisted by the British police as a spy;leading him to live a perilous double-life. The title (taken fromMcGartland's book) refers to the number of people he believes he savedwhilst working undercover.

      The film begins by establishing him as an ordinary young man growing upwithin the bleak setting of West Belfast during that time, making verylittle money by selling knock-off goods door-to-door. He is mostlyconcerned with making enough money to impress his love-interest, Lara(Press); but he is also an Irish Catholic, who vehemently opposes theBritish occupation of the country and believes in the cause of a unitedIreland. However, when he begins to work for the IRA, he becomes afirst-hand witness to some of the atrocities committed by them andbegins to have doubts about his political standpoint. Meanwhile, amember of Special Branch, Fergus (Kingsley), wants him to become aninformant on IRA activities. Initial attempts to recruit him areuseless, but McGartland eventually accepts the proposition; theviolence he had witnessed still being fresh in his mind, along with theoffer of a substantial sum of money in return for his work. Theremainder of the film is a tense and gripping set of events, all thewhile focusing on McGartland's inner conflict. He is portrayed as aconfused young man, exploited by both sides and absorbed completely bythe two equally tormenting responsibilities which he cannot escape: onone hand, he is betraying the cause which his ancestors had given theirlives to for centuries – his long-standing belief of freedom for hiscountry; but on the other hand he is stopping the all-too-real violencehe encounters on a day-to-day basis which, no matter what history hastaught him, he cannot find justification for.

      Although there are films which handle this subject matter far better, Ifeel that Fifty Dead Men Walking must be praised for the social realismand consistently gripping drama that is conveyed from the outsetthrough the locations used, the cinematography and the outstandingperformances given by the main cast. Sturgess captures the complexityof McGartland's character and, considering how difficult it must be toimitate a West Belfast accent, he and Press do a convincing job. I wascompelled to watch the film from start to finish and credit is dulygiven for this being a fantastic piece of British cinema.

      There are also, of course, the (dubious) factual elements associatedwith the film. It was filmed at the very location where these eventswere taking place little more than twenty years ago, which adds to thesheer tension felt throughout. The film is highly emotive and dealswith controversial issues that have been highlighted again recently,where a dissident group, the "Continuity IRA", has claimedresponsibility for the murder of a policeman. The film will resonatewith people on many levels. It is true that there are overwhelmingaccounts of horrific violence from the Irish Republican Army (a smallpart of which are shown graphically in the film), yet there are manydiscrepancies in the film and viewers may not know the vast complicatedpast associated with the Troubles and so, we are presented with yetanother media representation of one side of the fierce conflict inwhich, truthfully, equal acts of brutality have been committed on bothsides throughout history. Ultimately, I would urge people to watch thefilm for its brilliant script, performances and drama; but not to takeit as a lesson in Irish history by any means. If anything, whilst muchhostility still exists today between some Nationalists and Unionists,the film succeeds in demonstrating the futility of such violence afterhundreds of years of warfare and above all else, the overriding desirefor peace from those people who have had to live amongst the fightingand still live with the concern that it may one day return.

    2. sjmd1156-1 from United Kingdom
      30 Mar 2012, 9:17 pm

      I read the book going by the same name many years ago when it firstcame out and it left quite an impression on me. I felt very sympatheticto Mr McGartland's predicament, so I for one am glad that his story canlargely be told in this medium. Read the book to iron out the odddiscrepancy and to get the time-line correct. The director of this filmbravely attempted to show 'The Troubles' as viewed from both sides inthe short time the film allows. Although not all of the events aretrue, the film does realistically portray the truly chilling times. Itis violent, nasty and tense, and I congratulate the director on notpulling any punches and showing the sort of menace that haunted thestreets in the province. The makers of the film did state: 'Thescreenplay to the film is INSPIRED by the book. Although many aspectsand characters have been changed the screenplay was not written orapproved by the writers of the book and is not a reproduction oradaptation of the book or any substantial part of it' at the end of thefilm. I would suggest that wording was inserted to cover themselves.Certainly, Mr McGartland was not happy with the film to begin with asit showed him to be present at deaths that took place, to which heclaimed he was not. Obviously, there are faults with the film then. Butthe main thrust of the book/film for me was that Mr McGartland wasyoung, naive but also courageous, he was used by both sides and yeteventually couldn't trust either side. Although the peace treaty hasbeen signed and to 'all intents and purposes' the Troubles are over 'aswe knew them', it is a well known fact that the IRA never forget thosethat cross them. So the film is a reminder to many that this man gaveup his life as he knew it for very little in return and to be foreveron the run. This is not your typical Hollywood fare and is all thebetter for it. A job well done!

    3. BunnyNC from United States
      30 Mar 2012, 9:17 pm

      I've never written a review before and don't really feel very qualifiedto do so, but I felt so strongly about this film that I wanted to domore to recommend it than giving the star rating.

      Jim Sturgess turns in an incredibly moving and amazing performance asMartin, the young man who gets caught up with the IRA via his friends,only to be turned by "Fergus," played by Kingsley in a very differentand understated role than we're used to seeing him.

      Martin is torn between the cause and his friends vs. the ever-growingviolence against innocents. He becomes a father and ultimately decidesto be a source for Fergus, infiltrating deep and high into theorganization. We live through his angst, fright, joy, sorrow, regret,rage and pride as he evolves.

      Kingsley's portrayal of Fergus — a hard and closed-off guy who comesto uncharacteristically care deeply about Martin — is playedbrilliantly, with just the right low-key nuance in manner of speakingand facial expression that allow you to see his emotional wallcrumbling a bit for Martin.

      But there are costs for Martin regardless which path he takes, just agrim and sad result of the fractious climate between the IRA andBritish soldiers/police.

      The storyline, the style of filming (sorry, I'm not adept withtechnical terms), the wonderful development of the Martin character(and to a lesser extent, Fergus), along with the incredible performanceby Sturgess (I would go so far as to say even Oscar-worthy) really makethis film memorable and worth your time.

    4. sdeaves-fisher from Canada
      30 Mar 2012, 9:17 pm

      I saw the film at the Toronto Film Festival and liked it a great deal.The film is violent in parts, but this violence is necessary to trulyshow the times and the conflict that was going on between Ireland andEngland. I felt that both sides were presented in the movie, nevershowing too much favor to one or the other. It was a terrible and longperiod in UK history with far too much death and hate and this moviemakes it clear for those of us that have little knowledge of it. I hadno idea that this conflict went on for the length of time that it didor how the IRA operated before viewing the film, nor did I know thatthe IRA was as operational today as it is, they found Martin in hidingand tried to kill him again in Canada years later.

      Jim's performance as Martin was excellent and believable as was Ben's.I recommend spending the time to see the movie when it is released.

    5. bob the moo from Birmingham, UK
      30 Mar 2012, 9:17 pm

      As with any film on Northern Ireland it is good to see the messageboard full of debate about who the "good guys" were in NorthernIreland, who was in the right, who was in the wrong etc etc withoccasionally someone talking about the film. I'll leave all of that tothose guys but, as one has to do with these films for some reason, Iwill lay out my colours for all to see. Although I moved away aroundage 20, I was born in Belfast and grew up as a Protestant in NorthAntrim. I don't think I brought any of that to this film but for somethat will be enough to explain why I didn't like this film.

      Actually, it will probably be enough for viewers from both side of thatpolitical spectrum because the film manages to be such a thing that itis possible to side with both the IRA and the police/army. To a certainpoint this is a good thing because it asks you to sympathise/dislikeboth groups, which is true I guess because in the conflict nobody is100% right or wrong – both sides have fundamental points but yet havedone so much wrong as to make them a distant memory. However, this isonly "to a point" because it doesn't strike me as a deliberate thing somuch as it is a side-effect of the film not really getting to the heartof the matter or the characters. The Northern Ireland of the film issecondary to the central "Donnie Brasco-esquire" story, which again isnot a problem in and of itself, just that you're not used to that withNorthern Irish films, but it does cause a problem because by not doinga good job of laying out a convincing base, the film does feel a littlesuperficial.

      This is made more evident by the way it is directed but also the waythat accuracy is often set aside in favour of having set pieces andaction. Such sequences don't really work and stand out awkwardly asbeing out of place and not belonging in a film set in this time andplace – it is not as bad as The Devil's Own in this regard but you getmy point. All this aside though, the film should work in the same wayDonnie Brasco did because I didn't come to that film moaning about thelack of convincing mob detail etc etc but rather really enjoyed it as afilm. Sadly the things that this film should be taking from DonnieBrasco and repeating are lacking. This problem comes from the materialbecause it doesn't engage as it should and the characters, beyond Lara,don't do that much. To be precise what I felt was missing was keyrelationships for Martin. His relationship with his handler isn't thatgood in their shared scenes, while he lacks a "Lefty" in the IRA. Thistakes away the majority of the opportunities for scenes in which thestrain comes through and we get to see conflicting sides of Martin,like we did in Donnie Brasco, and this is a shame because it does meanthe film loses a lot.

      It is still a solid watch though, so don't take my negativity as a signthat it was awful – just that it seemed to miss a lot of what it couldand should have been doing. It is all helped a lot though by Sturgessin the lead. Now part of me wonders why more actual Northern Irishactors couldn't have been used at that level but Sturgess does do agood job and clearly could have done more with better and more complexmaterial. Funnily enough Kingsley is part of the problem. He is far toostiff and too clearly "acting" – he prevents much in the way ofchemistry and does nothing to tell us how he was able to reach Martin.The supporting cast do their turns reasonably well but only Pressreally stands out as she brings a bit of emotion and discussion to thefilm.

      Overall Fifty Dead Men Walking is more about what it is not rather thanwhat it is. As a film set in the troubles, it doesn't do a particularlygood job depicting them. As a thriller it doesn't manage to be engagingenough to thrill. As a Donnie Brasco type story set in Northern Ireland(which is what it is) it doesn't do the things that made that filmsuccessful. It is still OK in most regards but it never really becomesthe film it should have been.

    6. Joe from United Kingdom
      30 Mar 2012, 9:17 pm

      Take one young naïve man and place him as an informer (a "Tout") on theIRA to Special Investigations/Police and you have the gist of thisfilm. Set in Belfast, we follow the life of one guy who is in over hishead (as they always are) and has to juggle both sides along with hisburgeoning family commitments (girlfriend with kid etc).

      A generally captivating storyline being based on a true story, and tomy surprise didn't glorify any act of violence but rather shows life asa ground patrol man for the IRA in it's most gritty form. Tries tosteer clear of cliché and does a fine job.

      Acting is fair and most actors fill in their roles very comfortable.Ben Kingsley is wonderful as the Special Investigators sponsor, whilstJim Sturgess as the informer keeps you on side throughout the film.Rose McGowan as an IRA intelligence officer is the only person whoseems out of place but likely was there to add a bit more colour to thesurroundings but doesn't take away from the film too much.

      Overall, an enjoyable analysis of life in the IRA. Add in a goodsoundtrack and some able camera work and you have in total a very goodfilm. Good viewing.

    7. DICK STEEL from Singapore
      30 Mar 2012, 9:17 pm

      The main attraction of this story is not of the violent politickingbetween the British and the IRA, where you see how either side becomeboth the oppressed and the oppressor with their imposition of rules andregulations executed sometimes on a whim. This film doesn't seek out topreach the truth and has from the start stated that it had taken plentyof liberties with the story, inspired by the true story of anundercover agent's role in the IRA, being a trusted source andinformant to the British, until he was played out as a political pawnand had to forever be on the run. Welcome to the world of clandestineoperations, where the only rule of the game is to survive.

      It takes a lot to go undercover and work as a mole. This duality isalready very keenly spelled out in films such as Infernal Affairs (OK,so this is a very referenced film, but one to me that had raised thebar up so high), where one can be seduced by sheer power, or corruptionof morality that one's supposed to be guarded against. It's no funhaving to play act all the time, constantly looking over your shoulderat every turn, and practically living in fear that you'll be discovereddue to carelessness, and be dished out punishment with unimaginablepain as just desserts.

      Fifty Dead Men Walking refers to the number of persons that were savedfrom one man's diligent work as an undercover, without whom they wouldbe sitting ducks to assassination attempts. In being timely to surfacecredible information to thwart would-be incidents, you're always be putin a position where your identity will be compromised, since the numberof "moles"eliminated with each unsuccessful operation, will narrow theshortlist down to a few suspects. For Martin McGartland (Jim Sturgess),a wayward youth in Belfast who doesn't take sides, he becomes theperfect cover for British Intelligence officer Fergus (Ben Kingsley),who has to convince the former of his value to the cause, the Britishand not the Irish one that is.

      So it's not just the usual Spy versus Spy where the source Martinbecomes a hero overnight, but the film traces the long and arduous roadof his rise into the inner echelons, while feeding off from the supportof his handler Fergus to occasionally bail him out of tight situations.It's very much based on the themes of trust and betrayal. For Martin,with every step of trust that he gains from the IRA head honchos, it'salso a proportional step of betrayal that's at his disposal, with eachdisclosure of operational plans and targets to Fergus. And trust is noteasy between him and Fergus as well, and both of them knows it veryclearly that either has the power within them, at any time, to call offthis understanding of truce between both men, and betray the other.

      It's a film that dwells on these themes successfully, and both Sturgessand Kingsley bring their characters quite alive by their electrifyingportrayals of men trying to do the right thing, to make their worlds abetter place to live in and save the lives of innocents on both sides.Besides being just plain handler and source, their professionalrelationship grows from the testing phase where negotiated chipssometimes don't get fulfilled, to a father-son one as they realize thatthey only have each other to depend on, as the big picture politicsstart to get in the way and threaten their solid partnership. Bothactors feed off this great chemistry between them to bring out commonelation with each successful stint, and fear when things start to goawry.

      And with success breeds contempt, which puts the last 20 minutes of thefilm into a gripping but eventually emotional finale, that roads pavedwith good intentions more often than not, lead to Hell, or inMcGartland's case, an everlasting personal torture. As with allclandestine operations, a pawn who grows too successful will garnerunwanted attention from those who are morally corrupt, and basicallythere's no such thing as a thank you note of gratitude, only instancesof how useful one can be constantly. When you outlive your usefulness,expect to be tossed out like the rest of the thrash.

      What sagged the film was the attempt to provide more dimension toMartin McGartland through his romantic life, in the form of live-ingirlfriend Lara (Natalie Press) and a Mata Hari-type temptress and bossGrace (Rose McGowan), both of which became somewhat of a distraction tothe flow of the narrative, especially the needless un-seductive movesof the latter. Otherwise, Ben Kingsley and Jim Sturgess' performancesshould draw you into the film, as would the themes and premise of thefilm.

    8. gmadams59 from Canada
      30 Mar 2012, 9:17 pm

      I don't care about the accuracy. It's closer than 90 percent of what wesee out of Hollywood. Having said, kudos to Canadian director KariSkogland on a terrifically entertaining film. Great performances by allactors. Ben Kingsley and Jim Sturgess were especially great. Theyobviously had good chemistry which played out on the screen. JimSturgess is a talented young actor. The soundtrack was exactly right,helping to create a sense that I had just had a glimpse into what theirlives must've been like. I measure films based on how they made mefeel. This one was a "Wow!"

      Look forward to seeing more from all!

    9. JoeytheBrit from www.moviemoviesite.com
      30 Mar 2012, 9:17 pm

      A rather unpleasant little man named Gerry Adams appears in a montagesequence in this movie asserting that the IRA's killers are notterrorists but freedom fighters and, as the entire world now knows, thedistinction between the two depends completely on your perspective.This is the problem 50 Dead Men Walking has to address: to unify itsviewing audience so that it isn't sickening one half while pandering tothe possibly biased opinions of the others. It attempts to do so byadopting a kind of non-judgmental moral ambiguity that is bothunsatisfying and infuriating.

      That isn't to say the film isn't entertaining on its own terms. It'scertainly well-made, with Jonathan Freeman's cinematography contrastingthe drabness of the council-estate milieu with vivid, rich colours atnight. Belfast resembles a city blitzed beneath WWII bombers, and mostof us watching probably can't even begin to imagine how life underBritish rule at a time when the IRA was at its most active must havebeen. In fact, the film becomes so immersed in the world of theRepublican Army and the treacherous path travelled by the charismaticMartin (ably played by Jim Sturgess) that you're given the impressionthat everyone in Northern Ireland was in some way connected with thecause.

      The film deliberately avoids condemning outright the actions or beliefsof either the British or the IRA. British troops are portrayed asunthinking weapons of war carrying out orders without thought orconcern for their correctness, or as grey-faced suits pulling stringsand using people like chess pieces. A bewigged Ben Kingsley playsMartin's mentor, but he isn't right for the part and for some reasonchooses to impersonate Tom Courteney for most of the film. Martin'strue reasons for betraying his fellow troops as he rises through theranks of the IRA are never clearly spelled out: does he do it for themoney, or through moral conscience? He's portrayed as a hero – andthere's no doubt his information saved many lives – but the deliberateambiguity suggests that even Kari Skogland, who adapted the realMcGartland's book, has doubts as to his motives. The IRA characters areconvincing only on the typical espionage thriller level: you can'timagine any single moment of their life – no matter how insignificant–revolving around or being motivated by anything other than theirbelief in the cause, and this single-mindedness makes for fairlyone-dimensional characterisation.

      50 Dead Men Walking is undeniably a powerful, well-made film, but itisn't without its problems, which is perhaps why its rating on thissite isn't as high as it deserves to be on a purely technical level.Perhaps quite rightly, the film refuses to promote McGartland as anout-and-out hero or role model while acknowledging his courage, andthus leaves itself without a real hero we can root for.

    10. paul david from United Kingdom
      30 Mar 2012, 9:17 pm

      I had no idea who martin McGartland was until I watched this movie,unlike the main character in HUNGER and ironically I watched thisdirectly after watching matt Damon in The Informant. If that title wasmisleading, this one certainly was not, though working out why theycalled it 50 dead Men walking takes some thinking about in the contextof the movie. It refers of course to the 50 men who would have died ifMr McGartland didn't save them from assassination.

      This is a very powerful piece of British drama set in the 1980s. it isa very intense film but the story is easy to follow and the filmoverall is enjoyable without ever being full of violence or badlanguage. I still have images in my mind from HUNGER and FIVE MINUTESOF HEAVEN, not top mention the 'Barley' movie and of course MichaelCollins.

      I do agree that too much attention as a distraction in the movie to thetwo young women who feature in Mr McGarlands life and there should havebeen greater emphasis on the actual political role he had to play forthe IRA and for the British Police.

      Harrys Game was indeed a top production but should not be compared tothis new movie. Ben Kingsley was 'spot on' as Fergus and added thequality to the film it might otherwise have lacked.

      another well made British film, keep it up!

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