Learning Center
Plans & pricing Sign in
Sign Out

Michael Collins Michael Collins Michael Collins


									Michael Collins
Michael Collins is a 1996 historical biopic about General Michael Collins, the Irish
patriot and revolutionary who died in the Irish Civil War. It won the Golden Lion at the
Venice Film Festival.[1]

At the end of the Easter Rising, Michael Collins (Liam Neeson), Harry Boland (Aidan
Quinn), and Éamon de Valera (Alan Rickman) surrender to the British Army. Although
every other signatory of the Declaration of an Irish Republic is court martialed and shot,
De Valera is spared as a U.S. citizen and interned in Wales with the others. After their
release, Collins runs as a member of the illegal First Dáil. While giving a campaign
speech, he is severely beaten by the Royal Irish Constabulary. While recovering, he
meets Kitty Kiernan (Julia Roberts), who soon strikes up a relationship with Boland,
though she and Collins become quite friendly with each other.

In 1918, Collins is tipped off by Ned Broy (Stephen Rea), a sympathiser in the Dublin
Metropolitan Police, that the British plan to arrest de Valera and his Cabinet. However,
de Valera forbids anyone to go into hiding, stating that the ensuing public outcry will
force their immediate release. Everyone — except Collins and Boland — is arrested and
imprisoned in England, and there are no protests in response.

With Collins left in undisputed command, the IRA begins raiding the barracks of the
R.I.C. and D.M.P. to supply themselves with guns. He also issues a statement that all
collaboration with the British will be punished by death without trial. Using information
supplied by Broy, Collins declares war on British Intelligence-such as the infamous "G"
Division of the DMP. On Bloody Sunday, his private death squad assassinates the British
officers who make up the Cairo Gang. With their intelligence network destroyed, a
combined force of the Black and Tans and the British Army retaliates by shooting up a
Gaelic football match at Croke Park. In the aftermath, Boland and Collins travel to
England and successfully break de Valera out of prison.

Enraged to realize that Collins has overshadowed him, de Valera declares, "We'll see
who's the big fella." He travels to the United States in order to raise funds. He also hopes
to gain support from President Woodrow Wilson. Hoping to keep Collins in line, he also
orders Boland to accompany him. However, this cripples Collins' ability to wage war
against the British. After returning without any tangible results, de Valera expresses his
belief that the IRA must fight a conventional war — like the Easter Rising — by
attacking Dublin's Customs House. The attack fails catastrophically, leaving six men
dead and seventy captured. In the aftermath, Collins declares that the IRA can only hold
out for another week. To his shock, however, the British soon call for a ceasefire.

Despite his protests, Collins is ordered to join the negotiating team by de Valera. After
reading the terms of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, de Valera is enraged that he has not been
consulted. Equally enraged, Collins accuses De Valera of deliberately trying to discredit
him by sending him to the negotiatons in the first place. Meanwhile, the armed forces of
the Irish Free State-under Collins's command- take over command of Dublin Castle as the
Union Jack is lowered.

Despite de Valera's best efforts, the Dáil approves the Treaty by 64-57. In response, de
Valera, Boland, and their supporters resign in protest. During a country-wide plebiscite
over the Treaty, Collins makes speeches in support of the treaty, while de Valera rouses
support against it and makes his infamous "Wading through Irish Blood" speech. {In an
ironic parallel to Collins speech in the beginning of the movie where Collins is beaten up
by the RIC, Collins is again assaulted and then almost nearly killed by anti-treaty
protesters}. In the aftermath of the incident, Collins asks Kitty (who helped Collins's men
rescue him) to marry him: she accepts.

In June 1922, the Irish people overwhelmingly vote to approve the Treaty. This, however,
pushes the country into civil war. In the Battle of Dublin, the Anti-Treaty IRA is besieged
inside the Four Courts and driven from the city. Harry Boland is fatally shot by Free State
soldiers while trying to swim across the Liffey. Hoping to peacefully end the war, Collins
travels home to County Cork. He reaches out to de Valera, asking for a meeting. While
travelling to what he thinks is a peace conference, Collins is ambushed and shot in the
head by an Anti-Treaty sniper. A devastated Kitty is informed of his death while trying
on her wedding gown.

The film ends with a monotage of images from Michael Collins's funeral, accompanied
by a eulogy commenting on his achievements and the fact he paradoxically died in an
effort to remove the gun from Irish politics. It concludes with a quote taken from a 1966
speech of Eamon de Valera; "It is my considered opinion that in the fullness of time,
history will record the greatness of Michael Collins, and it shall be forever recorded at
my expense".

To top