Percy Boon lives with his mother in a shared rented house with an assortment of characters in central London. Although well intentioned, Percy becomes mixed up with gangsters and a murder. ... See full summary »
Percy Boon lives with his mother in a shared rented house with an assortment of characters in central London. Although well intentioned, Percy becomes mixed up with gangsters and a murder. The story focuses on the effects this has on Percy and the other residents. Written by
Col Needham <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A nicely evoked 1930s setting provides much interest for a viewer in the early 21st century; unfortunately, "London Belongs to Me" has little else to recommend it besides lashings of quaint English charm. All of the problems rest with the deeply unfocused story. The main plot concerns the actions of young lad Richard Attenborough, the problems he gets into and how the community in which he lives bands together to save him from society's laws. Or something. The main issue here is that Attenborough's character brings everything upon himself and, quite frankly, is guilty of almost every accusation brought against him, so it's baffling why the film (and all the characters) have so much sympathy for him. He's treated as a victim of circumstance when he really, really isn't; and what's more he isn't shown to have very much remorse for his actions, only caring about getting away with things he didn't mean to do. Alastair Sim gets a lot of screen time in a subplot that has absolutely nothing to do with the main plot line and you wonder what he's doing there (though Sim is, as always, superb). You know there's a problem with the structure when the main plot impacts constantly against the subplot but not vice-versa. And, following a sedate pace and a careful build up, the plot completely falls apart in the last 20 minutes with a deeply unsatisfying and unexplained conclusion which doesn't even show us if Attenborough's character has developed at all from the previous proceedings. The film doesn't end, it just stops.
The acting, direction and the general feel of the film can all be commended but unfortunately the story and structure of the piece jars constantly. A last point of trivia: Alec Guinness based his performance in the vastly superior film "The Ladykillers" on Alastair Sim's performance in this film, right down to both the characters having almost identical first scenes.
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