The General
A Film By John Boorman
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The Story
John Boorman's "The General" is based on the story of Martin Cahill, a notorious Dublin gangster who was the mastermind behind a series of daring robberies that stunned Ireland in the 1980s. John Boorman ("Deliverance," "The Emerald Forest") won the Best Director Prize at this year's Cannes Film Festival, and the film introduces Brendan Gleeson ("I Went Down") in a dazzling star-making performance as Cahill. "The General," which also reunites Boorman with his "Deliverance" star Jon Voight, who plays the Irish policeman determined to bring Cahill down, will open in New York on December 18th, followed by a national theatrical release through Sony Pictures Classics. Also in the cast are Adrian Dunbar, Sean McGinley, Maria Doyle Kennedy and Angeline Ball.

In a twenty-year career marked by obsessive secrecy, brutality and meticulous planning, Martin Cahill stole over 60 million dollars. Despite being the country's most wanted man, he brazenly eluded capture, thumbing his nose at both the police and the IRA, whom he despised—along with the Church and the State—as institutional authority figures. He lived in a ménage à trois with his wife and her sister, siring several children with both. While images of Cahill regularly appeared in the press, they were always obscured, typically by Cahill's hand placed in front of his face. Although Cahill was a legend in Ireland during his lifetime, his true identity remained an enigma.

Boorman describes Cahill as possessing "a contempt for authority, a rage at perceived injustice, a ferocious cunning, a sense of perpetual celebration, a dark brutality—in fact the pagan characteristics of a Celtic chieftain.... The public (and my own) fascination with Cahill probably drew on something archetypal from the deep past, a relish and envy for the freedom of one who dares defy the might of society."

John Boorman's films include "Having a Wild Weekend," "Point Blank," "Hell in the Pacific," "Leo the Last," "Deliverance" (Academy Award nominated for Best Picture and Best Director), "Zardoz," "Exorcist II: The Heretic," "Excalibur," "The Emerald Forest," "Hope and Glory" (Academy Award nominated for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay), "Where the Heart Is," "I Dreamt I Woke Up," "Beyond Rangoon," and "Two Nudes Bathing."

One of Ireland's leading actors, Brendan Gleeson is best known for his roles as Mel Gibson's bearded friend Hamish in "Braveheart" and as Bunny in Paddy Breatnach's "I Went Down." Often described as "the Irish Depardieu," he has also appeared in "The Butcher Boy," "The Field," "The Snapper" and "Michael Collins." With his extraordinary, multifaceted performance as "The General," Gleeson joins the front ranks of the world's leading actors.

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