Marty McGartland

Jim Sturgess in Fifty Dead Men Walking (2008)

21-year-old Martin McGartland (Jim Sturgess) finds himself coming to the attention of the IRA who want him to join up, something he is unsure of due to some of the ways the operate. It is why the British Police convince him to work for them by as a spy within the IRA, well that and the money and car they give him. With Martin on the inside he is able to feed information back to his contact, Fergus (Ben Kingsley) and prevent various attacks, saving lives in the process. But being a spy means he can't tell anyone as to what he does, not even his new girlfriend Lara (Natalie Press) who thinks he works for the IRA, something she isn't happy about. What Martin or Fergus doesn't know is that if his cover is blown there is no plan to rescue him, something which Fergus refuses to accept.

I want you to ignore two things for a moment, one of those is that this movie is about a spy within the IRA and the other is that the movie is loosely based on the true story of Martin McGartland. And if you ignore them what you have left is a pretty routine thriller about a young man talked in to being spy, making sacrifices in doing so, feeling betrayed and then finding his life in danger when his cover ends up being blown. Maybe it is because of this that Martin McGartland disowned the movie saying that it was not his story and why for me it mostly felt like a routine drama rather than something special.

Ben Kingsley in Fifty Dead Men Walking (2008)

Now having told you to ignore the whole IRA thing I might as well tell you that this isn't really a movie about the IRA or their operations. Basically Martin could have been infiltrating the mafia or the triads as it is all about the danger he was in and the connection with Fergus, his operator or at least that is what this movie is about. I suppose in a way it is disappointing as whilst it works as a piece of cinema for those just wanting a thriller full of danger for me I expected something more factual.

But despite not being as good as I had hoped it would be the acting is good throughout with Ben Kingsley, Jim Sturgess and Natalie Press all delivering plenty of character. For me it is thanks to the performances and the fact they bring the relationships to life which makes "Fifty Dead Men Walking" entertaining when it all gets a bit too routine.

What this all boils down to is that "Fifty Dead Men Walking" is on one hand an entertaining bit of routine cinema surrounding the dangers of an undercover spy. But as a movie based on a true story it doesn't work so well and fails to bring to life the personal side of things.

Movie Recommendations

The Devil Incarnate

The Devil Incarnate (2013)

Whilst most people on their honeymoon have one thing on their mind, newly w ...

The Human Centipede II

The Human Centipede II (2011)

Martin (Laurence R. Harvey) is a lonely little man who works as a guard at ...

Where the Devil Hides

Where the Devil Hides (2014)

18 years earlier in the devoutly religious community of New Bethlehem somet ...

Devil

Devil's Playground (2010)

Cole (Craig Fairbrass) works as a trouble shooter for a pharmaceutical comp ...

The Langoliers

The Langoliers (1995)

When a young blind girl screams when she wakes up on a plane and her aunt i ...

Devil

Devil (2010)

On a normal enough day 5 strangers Tony (Logan Marshall-Green), a mechanic ...

Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers

Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)

6 years have passed since Michael (George P. Wilbur) and Jamie (J.C. Brandy ...

Village of the Damned

Village of the Damned (1995)

When the small town of Midwich suddenly becomes covered in a whispering clo ...

To the Devil a Daughter

To the Devil a Daughter (1976)

Having been excommunicated, Father Michael Rayner (Christopher Lee) and his ...

The Devil

The Devil's Rain (1975)

Hidden in the floor of the Preston home is an ancient book, a book which th ...

Devil May Call

Devil May Call (2013)

Having dealt with plenty of turmoil in her life Sam (Corri English) is a co ...

The Devil

The Devil's Business (2011)

Pinner (Billy Clarke) has been a hired killer for many years and seen just ...

The Dentist

The Dentist (1996)

Dr. Alan Feinstone (Corbin Bernsen) has worked hard to achieve everything h ...

The Relic

The Relic (1997)

Superstitious detective Vincent D'Agosta (Tom Sizemore) is called to the do ...

American Mary

American Mary (2012)

Medical student Mary Mason (Katharine Isabelle) is finding the bills mounti ...

Follow The Movie Scene

Follow The Movie Scene on Twitter Like The Movie Scene on facebook Join The Movie Scene on Gplus Subscribe to The Movie Scene's RSS