The film version of Danny Greene's life has all the classic mob-film elements: Debtors are beaten, bosses fight over turf, and cars suddenly burst into flames. And while that makes it sound predictable, it's really not.
The mob-movie hallmarks never get in the way of the story or the solid performances from the actors who surround Ray Stevenson's Danny Greene: Christopher Walken, Val Kilmer, Vincent D'Onofrio, Paul Sorvino and a handful of other familiar faces from Goodfellas and The Sopranos.
Stevenson shines at capturing Greene's Jekyll and Hyde persona. He's charismatic and likable, but with a classic Irish temper. You're never quite sure if he'll throw a punch or smile.
It'd be nice to say Detroit fits the part of '70s Cleveland, but there's something amiss. It's got the right industrial grit, but its neighborhoods are too vacant and spread out to stand in for Collinwood and Little Italy.
The film uses news footage from the era to remind viewers Greene was a real person, and Kill the Irishman humanizes the man many knew only as a crook. It also lives up to its title with its depiction of the violence and vengeance that surrounded his life.
IF YOU GO
Kill the Irishman will play at the Cedar Lee, the Cinemark at Valley View, and Regal Crocker Park starting March 11. For more information, visit clevelandcinemas.com, cinemark.com or regmovies.com.Danny Greene: The Rise and Fall of the Irishman will be screened at the Cleveland International Film Festival on March 25, 26 and 27. For more information, visit clevelandfilm.org.