Finnegan On Films: An Irish Oscar Winner, A Western Classic And Hugh Meets Sandra

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Our movie guy, James Finnegan, has three very different movies to catch on RTE/TG4 over the coming week…

It is not exactly a vintage week for films on terrestrial television this week, but there are a couple of gems that are well worth a look, or indeed a revisit.

It’s hard to believe The Crying Game (TG4 Monday 9.55pm) is over 25 years old.

A British soldier, Jody (Forest Whitaker), is kidnapped by the IRA.  Fergus (Stephen Rea) is charged with keeping watch over Jody, but they develop a rapport, that under different circumstances would be called a friendship.

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Events draw Fergus more and more into Jody’s life, notably when he meets with Jody’s lover, Dil (Jaye Davidson).

A promise has been made, and keeping his word means that Fergus has to revaluate his views on nationality, race and love, all against the backdrop of the Northern Ireland Troubles.

This critical and commercial success was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director (Neil Jordan), Best Actor (Rea), Best Supporting Actor (Davidson) and Best Screenplay in Academy Awards, winning the latter for Neil Jordan.

In fact it was very successful in numerous Screenplay Awards, and when you have a powerful script together with a very talented cast, you certainly have a memorable and thought provoking film.

The Alamo (TG4 Friday 9.20pm) is the latest classic Western in this timeslot, with John Wayne starring as well as directing.

It is, I believe, fair to say that the emphasis is on action rather than nuance as one would perhaps expect from ‘Big John’.

In 1836, the Mexican army is invading Texas.  Colonel William Travis is ordered to draw the 7,000 strong invaders by use of a small band of volunteers at the Alamo Mission in San Antonio.  This would buy time to coordinate a counter attack.

Travis (Lawrence Harvey) is joined by Jim Bowie (Richard Widmark) and Davy Crockett (John Wayne).

They are outnumbered, outgunned and lack military training and coordination.  What they do have is fight and spirit.  They are further boosted by a belief that there is a relief force on the way.

The three commanders also have a clash of personalities that has to be dealt with to, if not complete the mission, at least keep a resistance going as long as possible.

Like Titanic, you go into this film knowing the end does not go well for a lot of the characters, but it is none the less, a typical Western of its type and period.

There is little of historical background explanation and a lot of talk of death or freedom.  Still, it’s worth a watch.

Two Weeks Notice (RTE1 Friday 11.25pm) is a rom-com starring Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant.  There will be those for whom that is enough information, but for the rest of us, I will give a few more details.

A lawyer eventually tires of her self-centred boss, who then realises he cannot do without her.  He has to woo her back. It’s a good Friday night film.  Enjoy and Stay Safe!

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