In an after-hours world of pug-faced scouse smack addicts and street fights, James McMartin and his mentor Paul Barber are privy to a doorman's-eye-view of a life most of us only glimpse...
See full synopsis »
Join host Ben Lyons for our live conversation with Mike Colter, star of "Jessica Jones," and Rachael Harris, star of "Lucifer," as we discuss their latest projects and history in Hollywood. Tune into Amazon.com/IMDbAsks on Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT to watch, live chat, and even ask a question yourself! This livestream is best viewed on laptops, desktops, and tablets.
Focusing on the timeless themes of jealousy, murder and betrayal, 'I Against I' is set over one night and utilises different time lines to reveal a dark and unexpected conclusion to a ... See full summary »
A hard boiled tale of bloody revenge that interweaves the stories of nine criminals. Hector Gonzales, a ruthless kingpin who has risen through the ranks over the last ten years and now ... See full summary »
Charlie is a London youngster who,with his friends,indulges in streaking and petty crime. However he aspires to better himself though his reckless friend Justin ruins his chances of working... See full summary »
A man is released from prison after serving a long time for killing a man who tried to kill his best friend. Once out, he just wants to live a normal life, but his best friend immediately gets him into a new heap of serious troubles.
A Birmingham-based band are ordered by their unhappy record company to an old warehouse; the goal being to re-start their ailing careers with a kick-ass new promo video. Unfortunately the ... See full summary »
The tale of a young writer trying to get over the girl that left him behind and survive the intricacies of the capital's nightlife with only the help of his hard partying, wisecracking ... See full summary »
In an after-hours world of pug-faced scouse smack addicts and street fights, James McMartin and his mentor Paul Barber are privy to a doorman's-eye-view of a life most of us only glimpse... See full synopsis »
A slice of gritty entertainment, served with a sharp knife
Thought that nightclubs were run by nice charming businessmen who wouldn't hurt a fly? Although Dead Man's Cards is one of the grittiest crime thrillers in British cinema since the gold standard of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, it should be enough to at least make you wonder if nightclubs aren't really controlled by the long arm of nasty criminal types, whether in knuckle dusters or smart suits.
I started watching this movie not expecting to like it, and there being more f-words in the first few minutes than my mother could have endured without fainting, felt my expectations were going to be fully realised, but it wasn't long before I had to admit I'd got it wrong. Dead Man's Cards breathes life into a genre that too often sags under the weight of its own excesses, and comes up with a hand of aces.
Ex-boxer Tom gets a job as a bouncer at a dive, much to his wife's disgust, and is soon initiated into the refined way of doing things. "If you wanna do someone in, take 'em out the back - no cameras," advises fellow doorman Paul. This being an age of political correctness, they undergo one of the legally required courses in non-violent restraint, which provides more opportunities for grim humour as Paul shows the instructor how to get out of his judo holds. Club manager Billy (Tom Bell) dresses as a cowboy, lives in fantasy land, and likes to think he's in charge until there's some argument about the going rate for security, at which point he hastily backtracks. Tom's wife wants to "do something like a normal couple" and whisks hubby off to communion, but he's still recovering from the night before and has to rush outside the church to vomit. He and Paul try to maintain their decency by brute force in the face of pressure from bigger club owners, but there's a limit to everything, including how many conflicting loyalties you can juggle especially with drug-fuelled hangovers and a slutty gun-toting barmaid determined to take advantage.
Many British gangster movies since Lock Stock (with the notable exception of Sexy Beast) foundered on too much comedy, complex and unrealistic plots, unconvincing characterisation or simply lack of talent. Dead Man's Cards cleverly succeeds where others have failed. Its only fault is that you could possibly struggle with the Liverpudlian accents, or it may be too violent for some viewers, but if the subject matter offends, you've been warned! There's no overriding message that I could discern, no lingering Oscar-worthy close-ups where we are invited to admire some unspoken subtext, just thumpingly honest entertainment that doesn't pull its punches. Director James Marquand's has scored a hit with first feature film, and we can only hope that, rather than be tempted to make Dead Man's Cards II, he goes on to make more equally original and incisive work.
34 of 36 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?