The story of Captain Richard Francis Burton and Lt. John Hanning Speke's expedition to find the source of the Nile river in the name of Queen Victoria's British Empire. The film tells the ... See full summary »
Richard E. Grant
It's been a long time since I saw this mini-series dealing with London gangsters, and I didn't get to see all of it, but I remember being extremely impressed by the acting and by the general presentation. Production values were outstanding. It seemed relatively slow-moving in terms of plot, more slice of life than fast-paced actions or twists and turns, but there was a real plot. This program was very dark in tone, not because of excessive violence, but because of its portrayal of a criminal subculture where no-one can be trusted or relied upon, where success is fleeting, and where even successes are hollow. Unlike Tarantino's gangster flicks or Japanese yakuza films, there are no amusing quirks of character or cartoonish elements to provide comic relief. The lead character has the expensive cars and clothes, and the trophy wife, but it's still not enough to fulfil his ambitions. His sneer of cold command and chilly, controlling demeanour suggests a total emotional vacuum. His wife can't stand his lifestyle, he doesn't even truly know his best friend, his gang consists of imbeciles and traitors, and the timid Irish accountant that he thinks he controls is actually putting the screws on him. The other gangsters he deals with are similarly disillusioned. One talks of how he hates his kids, another says that to him the 60's meant little fun and a lot of hard work. Nobody ends up feeling satisfied despite their desperate and dangerous striving, and perhaps this is what resonated with me so powerfully and made it so memorable.
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