The General is the story of Martin Cahill, a working-class Dubliner who was the mastermind behind a series of daring robberies that stunned Ireland in the 1980s. Despite being the country's most wanted man, he eluded capture - with great cheek - until he finally fell afoul of the IRA. Blurred, fleeting images of Cahill appeared in the press - often with his hand in front of his face - but what he really looked like, what his character really was, remained an enigma.
John Boorman's screenplay delves deep into the heart of Cahill and reveals a man who possessed a relish for defying the might of society, a rage at perceived injustice, a ferocious cunning, a sense of perpetual celebration, and a dark brutality - all the characteristics of a Celtic chieftain.
By revealing the man himself, The General becomes the tragic portrait of someone determined never to conform or to be beholden to society.