''Fools of Fortune'' means to be epic but is much too choppy and murky to achieve that status.
Based on the book by William Trevor, the film covers two decades in the life of a young Irishman who, as a child, sees his home burned and his father murdered by a member of the Black and Tan, a British force sent to Ireland to subdue the urge for independence.
Willie (Iain Glen) and his mother (Julie Christie) move to Dublin where she eventually commits suicide and he has a night in bed with Marianne, well played by Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio.
Marianne has a child, but Willie is not ready to assume marital and parental responsibility until he finds peace, by locating and killing the Englishman who destroyed his home and family.
Wlllie's little girl, meanwhile, seems to have special powers. The neighbors say she is sainted. Her mother says she is simply crazy. Whatever the case, the child's agitation doesn't necessarily contribute to the clarity of this film, one that skips about, country to country, and is not always certain as to where it is going.
Glen and Christie do well, despite the uncertainty of the script. Neil Dudgeon is the Englishman who causes all the heartache and tragedy.
''Fools of Fortune'' is showing at the Towson.
''Fools of Fortune''
* A young man whose father was murdered by a member of the Black and Tan lives for the day when he can settle the score.
CAST: Julie Christie, Iain Glen, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Neil Dudgeon.
DIRECTOR: Pat O'Connor
RATING: PG-13 (violence, sex)
RUNNING TIME: l09 minutes