Uneasy Mix of the Brilliant and absurd, 13 February 2007
Author: gary-444 from United Kingdom
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A friend who is a Lecturer in Film Studies had urged me to see this – I duly did, but with very mixed feelings afterwards.
On the positive side an impressive cast , led by a demonic, psychotic Ben Kingsley, seize an innovative, provocative script which is narrative driven, Pulp Fiction style.The strong London accents and vernacular will make this a struggle for non-native English speakers to understand. The crude, profane, mobster, Don Logan – brilliantly portrayed by Kingsley – dominates the proceedings, with an ugliness which borders on the unwatchable.
Ray Winstone as Gal, the “retired” crook being cajoled to do one last heist, seems to have built a career on gangster stereotypes since he exploded onto the screen as a borstal boy in “Scum”. He gives a comparatively sensitive, thoughtful, performance aided and abetted by Amanda Redman in a convincing cameo role as his wife. A mysterious pool boy, Enrique, flits in and out of proceedings leaving you guessing whether he is offering “other services” to the rich and indolent.
There are some tremendous set pieces between Winstone and Kingsley as Logan refuses to take “no” for an answer.And a scene where Logan decides that aeroplane’s no smoking policies don’t apply to him is a powerful tour de force.
On the negative side, the heist itself is poorly portrayed and ultimately becomes a bit of a mess. It is almost as if the Director realises that the dialogue alone isn’t going to hold the film and so throws in some bangs and drama for effect. Ian McShane has a bizarre cameo role as part of the London Team with a performance that teeters between comic and convincing.
Worth a look, but a million miles away from “Lock Stock” “Snatch” “Long Good Friday” etc, and for a British gangster double hander look no further than Terence Stamp in “The Hit”