Yet another potent (although critically underrated) drama from Jim Sheridan and Daniel Day-Lewis, the Irish director and British star (respectively) of My Left Foot and In the Name of the Father. The story focuses on Danny Flynn (Day-Lewis), a promising boxer who had been imprisoned at age 18 for associating with IRA terrorists. After serving a 14-year sentence, he returns to his Belfast neighborhood at a time when local IRA leader Joe Hamill (Brian Cox) is attempting to negotiate a peace treaty with the British. Despite having no further interest in IRA rivalries, Danny finds himself at the center of political and emotional turmoil when he is reunited with his former girlfriend Maggie (Emily Watson, of Breaking the Waves) who, in Danny's absence, married another IRA man who is now in prison. A strict, unwritten law forbids relationships with the wives of IRA prisoners, but as the former boxer channels his energy into reviving a neighborhood boxing gym, the attraction between Danny and Maggie proves irresistible. This gives a strategic advantage to a militant IRA rival who opposes the peace treaty, drawing Danny back into the bitter and potentially deadly struggle between warring IRA factions. Emphasizing the emotional complexities that arise between Danny and Maggie, this powerful, superbly acted drama demonstrates a sharp understanding of the deep-rooted fears and loyalties that fuel the "troubles" in Ireland, where peace seemed to finally (if tentatively) be achieved in the summer of 1998.
Actors: Daniel Day-Lewis, Daragh Donnelly, Frank Coughlan, Sean Kearns, Lorraine Pilkington
Directors: Jim Sheridan
Writers: Jim Sheridan, Terry George
Producers: Jim Sheridan, Arthur Lappin, Nye Heron