A scrappy little docudrama that could use a little more of the fightin’ Irish chutzpah it so loves to reference, Kill the Irishman tells the story of Danny Greene (Ray Stevenson), a 1970s Cleveland gangster who became known as the man the mob couldn’t whack. We follow Greene as a hulking, charismatic and well-read working-class mick who rises to power as the president of the local union; after he’s charged with criminal connections, he evades jail time by becoming an FBI informant and later reinvents himself as an independent underworld operative who defies the local Mafia. The material is dynamite and the cast is even better, but unfortunately Jonathan Hensleigh’s limited directing abilities makes this a good story not very well told; the longtime action screenwriter goes for Scorsese Lite but ends up a little too much on the “lite” part, making for an entertaining but wildly uneven crime drama. A good cast, which includes Val Kilmer, Vincent D’Onofrio, Linda Cardellini, Paul Sorvino, Robert Davi, Mike Starr and Vinnie Jones, brings some weight to the scattershot storytelling, though Christopher Walken (who seems to have gone from 50 to 90 in the past five years) seems distracted by daydreams of retirement as the local don. Worth a watch, but nowhere near as compelling as some of its mob brothers such as GoodFellas, The Departed or the definitive Irish crime story, State of Grace.
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