Differing Perceptions on Michael Collins
Michael Collins was a man and a legend infused into one. And though the movie at
many parts seemed more to be glorifying the legend, it did also its fair share of informing on the
man. And though there are wild and unpredictably changing views on this enigmatic man, the
reviews for the movie are often even more so. From protests from both sides of the war saying
that Collins was horribly portrayed and didn’t fit their side no matter what side was being
referred to, to editorial reviewers differing in views and reach. But two prominent reviewers
being Roger Ebert, whose prominence goes without saying and Stanley Kauffmann with New
Republic, are two that can efficiently show the complex differences in point of view.
Roger Ebert had a far more objective review of the film, which he says “Paints a heroic
picture of the Irish Republican Army’s inspired strategist and military leader.” (Ebert) Ebert
would go on to tell of how Collins would change the face of warfare as he introduced strategies
in guerilla warfare that would force the British to go on the defensive with the Irish situation.
And though he argues that at times, the movie seems to be dragged down by the romantic
interests, he doesn’t fail to give it three stars, which by his standards isn’t bad at all.
Kauffmann on the other hand starts his review out by concentrating on the politics of
Michael Collins. He uses unrealistically large words to batter down both the director and his
portrayal of Michael Collins. “Jordan’s directing career gave no promise that he could handle
this large subject, and he has certainly kept that non-promise.” (Kauffmann) But what
Kauffmann doesn’t seem to be able to form an opinion on is whether or not the telling of the tale
was enough to support a possibly lacking movie department, Kauffmann went on wild rants
bashing the director and claiming the movie as an absolute failure: “Jordan made his way to this
picture through one passable piece of work, The Crying Game, and a heap of weakly ambitious
trash.” (Kauffmann) From there he went to name some of the so called “trash” which were in
fact widely acclaimed movies. Kauffmann seems entirely obsessed with his condemnations of
the director, that it is unclear whether he actually saw the movie, or just read a brief synopsis
online and then went on to bash the one thing he did know about.
Both reviewers bring their own side of things to the table, and both help to shed light on
the story that has evoked so much emotion in the media. Ebert is, as always, strongly objective
and only briefly gives historical background into the story. He gives his opinion on the movie
and not the director or the production staff. Kauffmann on the other hand seems to likely be of
Irish decent as he speaks against Jordan strongly for portraying Michael Collins without knowing
a thing about drama from his past movies. Kauffmann argues against Jordan’s right to make the
film and not the value of the film itself. But instead of being a burden, it shows that even
amongst those that claim to be bipartisan and objective, there are heavy emotions in regards to
Ebert, Roger. "Michael Collins :: Rogerebert.com :: Reviews." Rogerebert.com :: Movie
Reviews, Essays and the Movie Answer Man from Film Critic Roger Ebert. Web. 26 Jan.
Kauffmann, Stanley. "A Lost Leader." UCF Libraries. Web. 26 Jan. 2011.