So-called crime thriller Fifty Dead Men Walking is a movie adaptation loosely based on the autobiography of Martin McGartland.
The movie is set in a period of time from 1987 until 1991, during this time Martin (Jim Sturgess), a street hustler from Northern Ireland, is recruited by the British police to infiltrate and spy on the IRA. When his true identity is revealed, the IRA is less than impressed and Martin is captured, tortured, escapes but ends up paying the price at the end. The film takes its name from a claim McGartland made in his book that he saved up to fifty lives during his time as an informant for the British police.
The settings and scenery to the film are very real with visions of beautiful open countryside’s and then streets with filthy phones boxes and building sites. There is gunfire and the occasional fighting scene but to be classed as a crime thriller you would have expected a bit more action and many more thrills. There is nothing that is able to fully engage you with the storyline. The shots move from one “job” to another, a quick in quick out succession and doesn’t fully establish an extensive scene so it is a little difficult to connect with anyone or anything. As Martin goes through some tough times there are some moments when you feel sorry for the character. He is doing what he thinks is best, trying to save the lives of the people he comes across on the streets, but ends up in a bad way for it. It is when Martin is tortured for being a traitor that you really start to feel for him, even so these scenes could have made much more of an impact if they had been extended.
Probably the worst thing this film has to offer is Rose McGowan‘s fake Irish accent as she plays Grace Sterrin. Even though there may be a few other cast members that had to adapt to the accent for the occasion, McGowan isn’t able to let it roll off her tongue as well as everyone else and she isn’t able to escape that American twang. Fifty Dead Men Walking is not one of the more gripping films released this year, but is certainly worth a watch nevertheless. The DVD will also feature commentaries, on set filming, deleted scenes as well as exclusive extracts from the book.