Fifty Dead Men Walking

Fifty Dead Men Walking

3.0 1
Director: Kari Skogland

Cast: Jim Sturgess, Ben Kingsley, Kevin Zegers

     
 

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Loosely based on the remarkable true story of the British undercover agent who successfully infiltrated the IRA, writer/director Kari Skogland's thriller takes its title from author Martin McGartland's best-selling book of the same name. Set at the absolute height of the Irish civil conflict, Fifty Dead Men Walking begins as

Overview

Loosely based on the remarkable true story of the British undercover agent who successfully infiltrated the IRA, writer/director Kari Skogland's thriller takes its title from author Martin McGartland's best-selling book of the same name. Set at the absolute height of the Irish civil conflict, Fifty Dead Men Walking begins as 22-year-old Martin McGartland is recruited by the British police to infiltrate the IRA and report back with intelligence. It's an extremely dangerous job that could result in death or worse should his true identity be revealed, yet McGartland realizes that the information he's gathering will save countless lives. At first, the prospect of being discovered provides something of a rush for McGartland, though that initial buzz quickly wears off when his true identity is revealed and he's forced to attempt an impossible escape. Two decades later, McGartland is still on the run. Sir Ben Kingsley, Jim Sturgess, and Rose McGowan star.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Many of the films about the Irish Republican Army -- including Bloody Sunday, In the Name of the Father, and Michael Collins -- present the group in a sympathetic light, but Fifty Dead Men Walking is far less kind in its approach. Kari Skogland's thriller begins in the late '90s, with ex-IRA informant Martin McGartland (Jim Sturgess, 21) being shot repeatedly while hiding out in Canada. The movie rewinds to the 1980s, and the IRA's tactics are soon revealed as the reason for Martin's switch to informant. The film shows the terrorists' torture of their enemies in unflinching detail; at times, this is a gritty, violent movie that isn't for the faint of heart -- or the weak of stomach. Fifty Dead Men Walking is inspired by McGartland and Nicholas Davies' account of McGartland's experiences as an informant, or "tout." In the film, Martin is a minor con man working in Belfast, trying to make money illegally since his religious status excludes him from employment. The Northern Irish city is divided in two, with a less-than-easy truce between the Protestants and Catholics, and the police seem to incite as many fights as they stop. Martin and his friend Sean (Kevin Zegers, Transamerica) enter the ranks of the IRA, and at first, it adds purpose to the aimless lives of the two young men. However, after Martin witnesses an IRA attack on his girlfriend's brother, he is persuaded to work for the British police. His handler, Fergus (Ben Kingsley), coaches Martin through his betrayals, but Martin's ascent through the IRA ranks brings him closer to discovery with every move. Fifty Dead Men Walking rides on Sturgess' layered, thoughtful performance. The supporting cast -- Kingsley in a by-the-numbers turn, Zegers' attempt to move beyond his pretty-boy typecasting, and Rose McGowan as the IRA's version of Mata Hari -- are all fine, if forgettable, but Sturgess delivers a memorable performance. His major career choices to date -- Across the Universe, Crossing Over, and 21 -- have had him improving mediocre material, and Fifty Dead Men Walking adds to that trend. Writer-director Kari Skogland has been making movies for almost two decades, and Fifty Dead Men is perhaps her biggest film to date. Episodes of TV shows such as Queer as Folk and The L Word appear on her filmography next to the female-driven drama The Stone Angel and the Wesley Snipes thriller Liberty Stands Still. The Canadian filmmaker doesn't seem to be pigeonholed in a particular style, but Fifty Dead Men Walking further establishes her credentials in the thriller genre. The action sequences are strong, especially an early chase scene that follows Martin and Sean as they tumble through the city of Belfast. This is a passable film, but it tends to fade from memory almost as soon as the credits roll. Martin's story is intriguing, especially thanks to Sturgess, but ultimately there is little that sets the film apart from dozens of other crime thrillers.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/05/2010
UPC:
0625828509803
Original Release:
2008
Rating:
R
Source:
Peace Arch Trinity
Region Code:
1
Time:
1:57:00

Special Features

Closed Caption; Audio commentary with director Kari Skogland; Deleted scenes; Behind-the-scenes footage; Theatrical trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jim Sturgess Martin McGartland
Ben Kingsley Fergus
Kevin Zegers Sean
Natalie Press Lara
Rose McGowan Grace

Technical Credits
Kari Skogland Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Nicole Carmen-Davis Executive Producer
Kirstin Chalmers Makeup
Elsie Choi Executive Producer
Stephanie Collie Costumes/Costume Designer
Guy Collins Executive Producer
Cindy Cowan Executive Producer
Nicholas Davies Screenwriter
Karyn Edwards Executive Producer
Jonathan Freeman Cinematographer
Stephen Hegyes Producer
Ros Hubbard Casting
John Hubbard Casting
Peter LaTerriere Producer
Kyle Lundberg Executive Producer
Stephen Margolis Executive Producer
Ben Mink Score Composer
Jim Munro Editor
Michael Ryan Executive Producer
Jonathan Shore Associate Producer
Eve Stewart Production Designer
Shawn Williamson Producer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- 50 Dead Men Walking
1. Chapter 1
2. Chapter 2
3. Chapter 3
4. Chapter 4
5. Chapter 5
6. Chapter 6
7. Chapter 7
8. Chapter 8
9. Chapter 9
10. Chapter 10
11. Chapter 11
12. Chapter 12

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Fifty Dead Men Walking 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
OhRyan More than 1 year ago
If 'Body Of Lies' (which stars Dicaprio) were to take place in Ireland it would look like '50 Dead Men Walking'. If you can make it through the first hour you'll enjoy it. I had trouble adjusting to the accent of the characters, but was more comfortable with it half-way through. 'Layer Cake' was far harder to understand in comparison. There was some serious suspense near the end of the film which made the lead-in worth it.