FOOLS OF FORTUNE
DIRECTOR: PAT O'CONNOR
CINEMATOGRAPHY: JERZY ZIELINSKI
CAST: Julie Christie, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Iain Glen.
MUSIC BY: HANS ZIMMER
ONE WORD: Nice story. Flows Well.
A very typical story about the Irish turns into a nightmare. Just as we see that the Viet Nam war left quite a few people damaged, we find here in this Irish drama, the same situation.
A well to do farmer's family, lives their daily routine with jobs for many people, until one day, the representatives of the opponents of the current system ( the politics are not quite well defined ) come in and wish to hide a few weapons in the property, to help aid the fight against the English colonialists. The owner of the farm does not wish to have anything to do with the disagreement, and denies the revolutionary group access to their weapons. And the story really begins. The revolutionaries make sure that this farm is destroyed in its entirety, and proceed to murder everyone, except those who escaped. The mother and the oldest son make it out alive because of a maid who was courageous enough to help the young man. And the young man, who has met a socialite who has become pregnant with his child, decides to continue his life with the mother who has become a serious alcoholic. The son, distraught when the mother commits suicide, goes also on his own hiatus, with the indication that he himself can not cope with the events himself, but at least he didn't resort to drinking like his mother. One day he returns, after being called in for legal reasons, and he ends up taking the law in his own hands, by going to Liverpool, and killing the man who exterminated his family. And then he proceeds to look for the woman who has his child ( he is not aware of it yet ) and has hopes of doing something, although he does not know yet, what it will be. His small daughter has become mute, in shock because she can see the deeds in her mind, from the family's murder, to the father's vengeance. And in the end, he gives in to this woman, whom he has loved, but had no courage to tell her so. The daughter is no longer a stranger, but the binding which brings them both together.
If anything, this film shows that the situation in Ireland, with the IRA, the Catholics and the Protestants is not very simple, and at the same time does not quite have an answer. As the murderer of the family sees that his life is about to end, he says that they were all in a war, and that he was only doing his job. No matter, his life is not spared. There is no peace, and another death may place one family in peace, but does not answer the real problem.
Julie Christie is excellent as the matriarch who is killing herself as a drunkard, and eventually does herself in. And the priest, who knows the family, and has been on the outside, has become a bit of a recluse himself, because he can not condemn the revenge, but he does say that for the sake of the children life must continue, and that the children deserve better. This sends the man searching for the woman he never married, but who carried his child.
While this is not a truly great film, the story itself is difficult to fall into as the film covers several years of this family's life, at least it tries to bring about a reconciliation of a family, I suppose, as the foremost necessity for the rebuilding of a county, or even a country. And if anything, it also suggests that the church needs to stop taking sides, and instead spend its time healing the wounds of the past. This, I'm sure, we all hope for.
Iain Glen is very good as the young man, as is Mastrantonio as the woman who has fallen in love with him. But the true stars of this film are the smaller characters who carry it. The maid of the large family goes to her grave with the secret of the newborn child, since the young man basically left the family behind. She doesn't have the heart to tell him, partly because she liked him and may have wanted to get on with him, but she was a commoner. This is not clear, but it seems the suggestion. The young man also has a friend who is
responsible for saving his life in the fire of the mansion, and he also gets murdered by the same man who killed the family.
Although a sad film, it is very good and has some excellent performances. This is a political film in many aspects but it tries to hide it behind the performances and the main story.
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