Michael Collins is a remarkable film commemorating the significant role of Michael Collins as well as portraying the political events taking place in Ireland in the twentieth century. The film itself is brief, and informative and serves as a means of education regarding Irish history, especially for those who are not particularly familiar with it.
Michael Collins was a “natural and charismatic leader, he had no formal education after high school […] he joined the IRB […] and participated in the Easter Rising” (Desmond’s Concise History of Ireland, 2020). The Easter Rising was an Irish rebellion against British rule over Ireland, in which various political leaders took part.
Michael Collins also held positions as „(1) President of the Supreme Council of the IRB, (2) Commander of the IRA (1919-21), later Commander-in-Chief of the Free State Army (1922), (3) Sinn Fein member of the Dail, (4) Minister of Finance of the 1919 provisional government, and (5) cabinet member in first post-treaty government”(Desmond’s Concise History of Ireland, 2020), which are were portrayed in the film.
There are various parts where the historical background is accurately included such as “political leader Éamon de Valera […] setting Collins up to lead negotiations in London, knowing it will be impossible to secure either full republican status or a united Ireland. Secretly, he hopes that Collins will take the fall for the concessions” (Tunzelmann, 2020). However, in some places, we may encounter some inconsistencies, for example, “the film goes on to imply strongly that De Valera was behind Collins’s assassination” (Tunzelmann, 2020).
If we observe the film from a critical viewpoint, we can conclude that “the film’s biggest problem was its lack of focus. It covers only a brief period, but that period takes in enough history to fuel a brace of lengthy television series” (Michael Collins review: nowhere near as historically inaccurate as we once supposed, 2020). However, it captured them in a brilliant manner where the viewer could imagine the hardships and perilous times of that period.
Unquestionably, this film can educate anyone regarding Irish mentality and sentiment escalating under the dominance of the British Empire, even if we consider the flaws in some of its historical representations. It raises important questions regarding freedom, not only about what freedom is but where the limits of it lie. This film is highly recommended to anyone even if the reviews might not deem to give the best ratings of it.
Jerrydesmond.tripod.com. 2020. Desmond’s Concise History Of Ireland. [online] Available at: <http://jerrydesmond.tripod.com/index-2.html>
The Irish Times. 2020. Michael Collins Review: Nowhere Near As Historically Inaccurate As We Once Supposed. [online] Available at: <https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/film/michael-collins-review-nowhere-near-as- historically-inaccurate-as-we-once-supposed-1.2576150> [Accessed 24 March 2020].
Tunzelmann, A., 2020. Michael Collins Is 30 Seconds From The Truth About Irish History. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2010/dec/09/reel-history-michael-collins-irish