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They’re not standing around the watercooler, but Cheryl Sadler, Mark Meszoros, Mark Podolski and Nicole Franz are talking about what they’ve been watching, listening to and playing during their free time.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Kill the Irishman

I blogged on The Book Club on reading about the Cleveland underworld in advance of seeing "Kill the Irishman" over the weekend. I knew that reading "Kill the Irishman," the book on which the movie is based, would sort of ruin the movie for me because it's not a true account of the story of Cleveland mobster Danny Greene's rise and demise. The movie is based on the true story that Rick Porrello wrote in his book, but the film definitely took some liberties in retelling the story of the fall of the Cleveland mafia.

The rest of this blog post will certainly contain spoilers, so don't read on if you don't want to be spoiled before seeing the movie (or reading the book).

I liked the movie, but (of course) I liked the book better. What confused me most about the book was the sheer amount of people involved because I had trouble keeping everyone straight. The movie simplifies that for you, by combining several characters into one, on more than one occasion.

The movie also skips a lot of the details, like the woman who leaked the list of FBI informants, exposing Greene's double life. Several of the slayings were left out as well, but the sort of montage of deaths as the contention between Greene and the mafia heated up really illustrated the amount of blood that was spilled and how much killing both sides were willing to do.

My biggest issue with the movie was the final scene with Greene. He died in Lyndhurst, but the scene looks like it was shot downtown. Before the bomb goes off, a group of kids rides up on bicycles, asking if he really is Danny Greene, telling him they want to be like him when they get older. He gives his Celtic necklace to one of the boys. I found the whole interaction to be incredibly awkward, and I couldn't figure out why the scene played out as it did. Was the director trying to show the human side of Greene before he was killed? Maybe it didn't bother the people in the audience who didn't read the book, but I was annoyed because it was delaying the inevitable. And it didn't happen. (And, we saw Greene's humanity earlier, 

One aspect of the movie that I loved was real news footage that was included throughout. After Greene's Collinwood home was bombed, the movie used part of a newscast to show the real destruction that occurred. The movie set of the bombed home did not look like the news footage, but that didn't bother me too much because it was just neat to get a few glimpses of what really happened.

I wasn't around in the 1970s to witness the chaos of the bombings in Cleveland, so it was interesting to get a real feel for what it was like (sometimes, the movies paint better pictures than the books). The characters and setting gave the movie a really gritty feel, and I loved the shots of the Cleveland skyline pre-Key Tower and other notable landmarks.

Correspondent Mark Koestner interviewed author Porrello, so check back to to read what he had to say about the Cleveland mafia, Greene, his book and the movie.

-- Cheryl Sadler | | @nhcheryl

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