by W. B. Yeats
RTE to make REBELLION which debuted in the US on Sundance last Spring and is now available on Netflix. Reviewers have quarreled with its problems; I did too, but even flawed, it was absorbing and memorable. (It falls in the category of 'not terrific but I liked it anyway'. ) The issue for American viewers, if not its Irish audience, is the lack of context to anyone unfamiliar with the Rising: English rule over Ireland, and incessant religious conflict (no wonder our founders were so adamant about religious freedom). The dramatic problem was the rapid introduction of many characters and their stories, cutting among them early in the series at dizzying, off-putting pace. You can gauge writer Colin Teevan's imperatives: represent the points of view of rich, poor, English, Irish, rebel fighters, British army, with friends and family members falling on opposite sides. There simply was not enough time to assimilate all the story lines. The problem lessened as Teevan focused on the women chosen to represent the many who participated in the action but whose stories have been ignored in prior versions of the Rising.
Charlie Murphy, center) is a medical student and rich banker's daughter; May Lacy (Sarah Greene, right) is an apolitical secretary to a British bureaucrat with whom she is having an affair, and Frances O'Flaherty (Ruth Bradley, left) is a passionate member of the rebellion (all three are also show at bottom of this post).
Michelle Fairley (Game of Thrones) and Ian McElhinney (GoT and Rogue One), at left, the most famous cast members. Elizabeth (Ms Murphy, the compelling young actress of The Last Kingdom) spends the Rising dressed for her wedding which she cuts out from just as the fighting begins. Her Virgin-Mary look, white silk dress and powder blue coat, grows progressively disheveled as she, bloodied, tends to injured rebels. The groom she deserts is an Irish officer in the British army, ignorant of his fiance's increasing affinity for the rebel cause and distaste for upper class privilege. But he, too, while awaiting her at church, is ordered to report for duty to put down the rebellion, putting him on the opposite side of Elizabeth; she, meanwhile, has befriended Socialist rebel, Jimmy Mahon (Brian Gleeson, son of the ubiquitous Brendon Gleeson, shown below and in cover photo at the top), whose lot she throws in with.
Tom Turner) is heating up as the battle engages; to protect her from the fighting, he sends her to his suburban home. There mistress May is put through the wringer by Hammond's abusive upper-class wife (Perdita Weeks, below, who is the younger sister of Honeysuckle, of Foyle's War).