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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

'The Outsider' BD: Idealist Out of Vietnam Frying Pan Into IRA Fire

  • Outsider [Blu-ray]
The recent Olive Films Blu-ray release of the 1980 drama "The Outsider" provides an opportunity to  discover this post-Vietnam current Iranian hostage era film that is a great example of the movies of that period that include an important lesson and that show that a Hollywood ending is optional. The titular misfit is Micheal Flaherty, who is a disillusioned Vietnam vet who seeks alternative fulfillment with the IRA only to not have that work out so well either. The primary issue that time is that he is an Irish-American in a land of "true" Irishmen.

We first meet Michael and the lads on a relatively safe mission relatively far behind the enemy lines in their war. This role of Michael in this successful effort further cements his status as a good and loyal soldier in a struggle regarding which he arguably is one degree of separation. His subsequent active participation in trying a judge with apparent biases further shows the commitment of Michael to the cause.

The audience further soon learns that the motivation of Michael extends well beyond the nature of the current war. The war stories of his grandfather regarding the early days of "the troubles" tremendously inspire his crusade.

As is typical in any war, foot soldier Michael ultimately becomes the victim of circumstances that should not have anything to do with him. The British government using the collateral damage in the form of the death of children during a clash with the IRA prompts IRA leaders to plot to facilitate British soldiers killing Michael. The reasoning behind this is that the United States will support the IRA if the conflict claims the life of an American citizen.

The initial step in the IRA plot is to transfer Michael to the front lines of Belfast. He soon sees Magenta (this will be hilarious on watching the film) on first still being kept on the sidelines and later becoming disillusioned with his adopted cause.

The ultimate betrayal at the end of the film concludes "Outsider" on an aptly cynical note. Suffice it to say, we genuinely feel the pain of Ben.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "The Outsider" is strongly encouraged to either email me or to connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.