The Mark of Cain (2007 film)

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The Mark of Cain
The Mark of Cain VideoCover.jpeg
Soldiers under fire in Iraq
Directed byMarc Munden
Produced byLynn Horsford
Liza Marshall
Nicola Shindler
Katy Jones
Written byTony Marchant
StarringMatthew McNulty
Gerard Kearns
Leo Gregory
Shaun Dooley
Music byBen Bartlett
CinematographyMatt Gray
Edited byPhilip Kloss
Distributed byFilm4 Productions
Revolver Entertainment
Release date
2 February 2007 (Netherlands, World premiere)
9 February 2007 (Germany)
9 April 2007 (UK, DVD premiere)
12 April 2007 (UK, TV premiere)
Running time
90 min.
CountryUnited Kingdom

The Mark of Cain is a British Academy of Film and Television Arts Award-winning British television film first broadcast in 2007 following three young men as they experience the extremity of war for the first time, and the permanent effects of what they have seen and done as they return from their tour of duty. Rather than heroic stories, all they bring home are tawdry trophy photos, as well as the secrets of what they really did, until the consequences of their actions surface to confront them.

Produced by Red Production Company, it was originally scheduled on Channel 4 at 9 pm on 5 April 2007, but was rescheduled to 12 April 2007, in light of the detention of British service personnel by Iran.[1] The film's title comes from Royal Irish Regiment Colonel Tim Collins's eve-of-battle speech in Iraq in 2003.


The film begins with Private Shane Gulliver (Matthew McNulty) of the 1st Battalion, Northdale Rifles marching to a court martial. The film then cuts to Gulliver's arrival in Basra, Iraq with fellow soldier Mark Tate (Gerard Kearns). Once there, they are briefed by their commanding officer (CO), Major Godber (Shaun Dingwall), who tells them to treat the people of Iraq with respect. While on patrol the troops are ambushed by insurgents, and the men witness the death of their CO whilst trying to rescue a Territorial Army private who is struck with shock while in a Land Rover and is incapable of taking cover. After this the troops receive reports that the insurgents came from a village nearby.

When the troops arrive in the said village, they arrest several men suspected of being insurgents, and take them back to their base. Once there, they are told to leave the prisoners to the Royal Military Police (RMP), but due to their anger over the death of their major, they begin to beat, torture and sexually abuse them. When Corporal Gant (Shaun Dooley) orders a reluctant Tate to join the troops he refuses at first, but is bullied into helping them. During the torture, Gulliver takes some photographs.

After the torture scene, we see as they arrive home, they resume their normal lives, during which Gulliver shows his girlfriend the pictures of the torture. After she discovers that he has been cheating on her, she reports him to the civilian police. Gant, Gulliver and Tate are subsequently arrested by the RMP.

Gant is fined, while the two privates are court-martialed. Upon hearing this, Tate kills himself. In the final scene of the film, we see Gulliver's trial, he pleads guilty to all charges, but rather than solely take the blame he tells the court what Gant and the other soldiers did. When Gulliver is returned to his cell, he is beaten by his fellow soldiers. He is then put in prison.



Critical response[edit]

  • Good early reviews from[2]
  • Won a BAFTA 2008 April 2008
  • US Premiere at the Red Rock Film Festival 15 November 2008

Awards and nominations[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ BBC News
  2. ^ Weissberg, Jay (27 February 2007). "The Mark of Cain". Variety. Retrieved 9 March 2007.

External links[edit]