Nothing Personal

Director: Thaddeus O’Sullivan
Screenwriters: Daniel Mornin

Institute History

  • 1996 Sundance Film Festival


Loyalty to friends clashes bloodily with loyalty to state in Nothing Personal, Thaddeus O’Sullivan’s strife-torn tale of early seventies Belfast. And though the violence in Northern Ireland seems to have abated, the warning of this film is clear: Years of hatred are not easily forgotten, and the actions of a few threaten the cleverest cease-fire. O’Sullivan focuses on Kenny, a young, charismatic Loyalist hitman, and Liam, a young Catholic father whose love for his children is his reason for living. Kenny is dark, attractive, and a lethal shot. He and his band of accomplices are the killing arm of the Loyalists. But, with a truce in the works, even he finds it hard to restrain his men. Liam, on the other hand, is unwittingly caught up in a maelstrom of events he cannot control.

With this uncompromising, hypnotic tale of blood and revenge, O’Sullivan gets into the heads of the opposing parties: the nihilistic opportunism of their hit men, their family life, their partying and pub chatter, and their thirst for revenge over slights real and imagined. Nothing Personal is a tragedy in the Shakespearean sense, where passion and hubris can only have dire consequences. O’Sullivan shows the turmoil that consumed Belfast for decades from an intensely personal point of view.

— Piers Handling, Toronto Film Festival

Screening Details

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