Neil Jordan's films
Neil Jordan is a romantic fantasist who grew up Catholic and believes in unexpected grace; he even named one of his movies The Miracle. Jordan is also a flinty realist who grew up in bloody Ireland and knows how far the world has fallen. The films that he writes and directs spring from those dichotomies passions interrupt gunplay, killers are visited with spirituality, love conquers more than his heroes dare hope. Jordan's work is of a piece: Even his flops resonate with feeling.
DANNY BOY (1982) Curiously, Jordan's first now looks like a dry run for The Crying Game: the same star (Stephen Rea, as a musician turned vigilante) in a similar collision of gangland violence and inner anguish. But it's much clumsier in its overt religious symbolism. C
THE COMPANY OF WOLVES (1984) He gained a sense of humor for this psychosexual fairy tale, a cult lulu that throws ''Little Red Riding Hood,'' Freud's Interpretation of Dreams, and one of those old Universal werewolf movies into a blender. B+
MONA LISA (1986) A breakthrough film, not only for Bob Hoskins who has one of his best roles as a lowbrow hood who falls for the high-price call girl (Cathy Tyson) he chauffeurs but also for Jordan, whose obsession with love among the damned fits neatly within the thriller format. A-
HIGH SPIRITS (1988) Mona Lisa brought Jordan to Hollywood, where he made this thing. A frenetic farce about ghosts and tourists mucking about an Irish castle, Spirits wastes a perfectly bizarre cast (Peter O'Toole, Liam Neeson, Daryl Hannah, Steve Guttenberg, Beverly D'Angelo). It's good-natured enough; it's just not very good. D
WE'RE NO ANGELS (1989) Escaped cons Robert De Niro and Sean Penn disguise themselves as priests: Big laffs do not ensue. The director's second Hollywood misfire is pretty awful, but it keeps jerking intriguingly toward something funky and real. And there's a magical waterfall climax that's pure Jordan. C
THE MIRACLE (1991) Back on home sod with a Hollywood star Beverly D'Angelo in tow, Jordan effortlessly regained his touch for rueful human comedy. Miracle digs under the lives of an imaginative teenager (Niall Byrne), his dreamy musician dad (Donal McCann), and a glamorous, secretive starlet from a far-off planet called America. B