Triumphant British Gangster Film, 14 September 2006
Author: gary-444 from United Kingdom
I first saw this film on release some 26 years ago,and have revisited it on several occasions.But a TV showing last night prompted me to test its’ quality once again – I was not disappointed.
Class oozes out of every frame. Helen Mirren cuts a dazzling sexy,swathe throughout as Bob Hoskins’ gangsters moll. Hoskins himself gives a tour de force performance as Harold Shand, the London villain who suddenly, and inexplicably, finds his fiefdom spiralling out of control.
The action races along at a pace of knots, but it is the superlative Barrie Keeffe screenplay that continues to delight with Harolds’ monologues at the heart of things. Upon the death of one of his henchmen he reflects “Poor Colin, who could do this to him? He would never hurt a fly – well mot unless it was necessary….” Despite Shands’ thoroughly ruthless character Keeffee imbues a Shakespearean strand of Tragedy both to the story, and Shand.This is magnificently demonstrated with Shands murder of one of his right hand men “I smell treachery” and his child like collapse into the arms of Mirrens’ Victoria as events spiral out of control.
The classy dialogue makes the profanities and violence, when they come, even more powerful, and make no mistake this is a powerful tale of corrupt power, deceit, loyalty and disloyalty. No British Gangster film has come close to this in the last quarter of a century which is as much a testament to its. stature as it is a condemnation of its’ poor imitators.