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|Index||108 reviews in total|
In a lot of ways, this is a puzzling movie. Every single element of it
is so right, so how does it end up being so completely uninvolving that
I ended up nearly falling asleep halfway through? The problem isn't the
casting; Colin Farrell makes a hell of a gangster, all smouldering
machismo stomping through the streets of London. And with a supporting
cast that includes Eddie Marsan (sleazy), David Thewlis (sleazier) and
Ben Chaplin (sleaziest, and very, very good), Farrell has some
excellent support. Ray Winstone has never been scarier, but of all
people it's Anna Friel who takes the acting honours as Farrell's
sister, a woman who out-sleazes Marsan, Thewlis and Chaplin combined.
The problem isn't the locations, or how true to life they are. I lived in London for a long time, and I've rarely seen the city depicted better, all back streets and alleyways with nasty bastards lurking around every grubby corner. Considering the film's writer and director William Monahan is from Boston, I was worried that this might be the tourist's eye view of London, but that really isn't the case. The film positively drips with atmosphere, and the expletive-heavy dialogue rings true.
And yet it all sits there, lifeless on the screen, a collection of images and characters that seem only vaguely related to one another. It doesn't help that the main plot - will Farrell become a proper gangster, or will he end up with Keira Knightley's way-too-good-for-him actress - is hardly new. But that doesn't have to be a deal breaker, and there are plenty of interesting minor characters to pass the time.
The problem is really that the film feels rushed. Those minor characters aren't given nearly enough time - Marsan gets three scenes, none of them remotely important to the plot, and even Anna Friel doesn't get a lot to do. She's still better off than Stephen Graham and Sanjeev Bhaskar, great actors who are cast in completely pointless roles that could have been played by anyone. And so much of this movie feels tacked on, from the dozen or so subplots, to Winstone's pointless murder of the wrong man halfway through, to the stalker, obviously based on Mark David Chapman, who makes several ominous appearances and is then dismissed in a single line of dialogue.
If some subplots and characters are pointless, though, the ending made me feel that way about the whole damn film. Without giving too much away, it's a horrible, limp lettuce of an ending, with none of the resonance that the film-makers clearly thought it had achieved. That's the film in a nutshell - it wanted to be profound, but ended up as a giant 'so what?'
It just kills me that once again I had the (un)fortunate chance to
trust someone with an answer to a simple "Is it any good?" question.
People all around me were bashing this movie before I watched it and I
heard so many things. I heard it stole the plot from Carlito's Way, I
heard the ending was disappointing, I even read comments like "Keira
Knightley has no tits and less talent". The only thing I'm disappointed
of is myself for believing all of these s... tuff. Yet I'm kind of glad
I read and heard all the negative responses, because it caught me off
guard even more than it probably would've if I'd seen it without
The acting and script were superb. Knightley's performances almost made my heart skip a beat, Farrel's teeth grinding and weird expressions got me all worked up about his problems, Winstone was giving me the creeps and Thewlis got me laughing out of my breath. "I'm an actor - I can feel anything about anything". Great script, superb acting - if you're a fan of one of the actors in here, a fan of British cinema, a fan of the crime genre or a fan of quality pictures in general - this is the movie for you. Oh and remember - when it comes to art and judgement - trust ONLY yourself! You owe it to yourself to go see this movie! 10/10
The movie had promise - directed by The Departed's writer William
Monahan and starring an eclectic bunch of British stars Colin Farrell,
Keira Knightly, Ray Winstone, David Thewlis and Anna Friel. Even Eddie
Marsan, Stephen Graham and Ben Chaplin make appearances.
Unfortunately despite a snazzy score and a stylish flourish, this movie is nothing more than a collection of London gangster movie clichés and stereotypes with an obvious script written by an unauthentic source. The characters can all be labelled with a single word (villain, victim, druggie etc), bereft of any depth or colour.
Farrell plays Mitchell, fresh from prison and determined to go straight, within half-an-hour, he has been offered a choice of two jobs. One working as a debt collector for tough and possibly homosexual (who cares?) gangland boss (Winstone, who else) and the other protecting a damaged & shy actress (Knightly). Needless to say, Winstone doesn't take kindly to being refused and sets his sights on hurting Mitchell as revenge (hasn't he got better things to do?) The movie doesn't ring true at every juncture and the only pleasure the viewer grab, is when watching Thewlis's thinly veiled Withnail impression or with the music on show.
Do yourself a favour and watch Layer Cake instead.
This film was brimming with potential, an adept cast, some stylish
directing & gritty yet beautiful set locations. However some of the
story & the actions taken by its characters were implausible, & most of
its ideas didn't develop effectively on screen.
Recently released gangster Colin Farrell meets a young female friend of reclusive celebrity actor Kiera Knightly & offers him a job protecting her from intrusive paparazzi. He shows up for work & What feels like a scene or two later they have (unconvincingly) fallen in love. parallel to this Farrels character is finding it hard to escape his past & is soon roped into a feud with gangster boss Ray Winstone. He is now faced with the dilemma of either returning to his previous nature or beginning a life of new found love in LA.
All this is played out with some very stylish moments, such as the dialogue between Winstone & Farrel in the restaurant or the artistic but realistic way in which the environment is captured. All the acting is well done & Its accompanied by a great soundtrack, but a huge amount of the script feels rushed & underdeveloped. As a whole it is entertaining if not taken to seriously but may not appeal to any serious film enthusiast.
I also felt that the ending of this film was brave but what I had seen prior to it lacked enough substance or attachment to make it stick & I think I would have been more satisfied with a conventional ending.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Glimpses of what could have been a far better film appear at regular
stages throughout what is essentially another 'Landan' crime flick.
You could be forgiven for assuming the predictable plot is actually a clever ruse, with a huge twist or revelation certain to turn events on their head in the back end of the film. But alas, William Monahan's directorial debut points you in one direction from the start, then follows a fairly straight line for it's 100 minutes run time.
What elevates this movie from Danny Dyer fodder is the rather exciting cast of British and Irish big guns, with David Thewlis perhaps the most interesting character and screen presence. The likable Colin Farrel's posh-boy cockerney accent is consistent enough not to distract, and you certainly root for his reluctant protagonist Mitchell. Ray Winstone is typecast as the (needlessly racist) villain, and Anna Friel is perky and trashy as Farrell's screen Sister.
Ikea Knightley on the other hand, is wooden and unconvincing as the 'Superstar' whom Farrell's Mitchell is hired to protect. A limited screen presence at the best of times, it's hard to tell if Knightley's emaciated Supermodel/Actress is supposed to look so frail or if that's just how Knightley turns up to work... Either way, she makes for a particularly unattractive and unconvincing screen starlet, and when her Charlotte laments that Actresses are merely in films to make the male heroes look good, she struggles to do even that.
The under explored sub-plot regarding Mitchell and a young thug shamelessly bookends the film with a predictable climax 'borrowed' heavily from the far superior Carlito's Way, and left me for one, thinking about the far better film this so-so effort could have been.
If I only had three words to use to describe this film they would be Classic, Cool and Clever. Ray Winstone's (Gant) presence is eagerly anticipated and arrives at last almost a quarter of the way into the film. An impressive stately Rolls Royce signals this is the arrival of an important person even before he steps out onto the pavement. The clichéd story line of the ex-con walking from prison set on a life of 'going straight' and that 'one last job' springs to mind seem not to be irritating. Colin Farrel (Mitchell) could be auditioning for James Bond. He is cool, calm and collected. Nobody and nothing spook him. Everybody smokes, a lot, and swears, a lot. However, this is a crime thriller/gangster movie after all and is to be expected. It's just that those two words 'f**ck off' and 'you c**t' are said with such conviction but in a cool and effortless manner by both Gant and Mitchell. The film has a calm linear flow for a crime thriller but several twists and turns toward the conclusion remind you that within this genre,clever can often be more stimulating than too much blood and violence. Although there are a few quite gruesome scenes. However, the nasty bits are not dragged out and enough is seen for you to get the picture of what's going on!Winstone, Farrel, Thewlis, Friel give good performances and present interesting roles. Knightly however gives a rather wooden performance in a boring role. Humour is weaved within this relatively serious film and classic 60's music from bands such as the Yardbirds add to the recipe which make this rather tasty. A few unexpected twists of fate toward the end seal this stylish film.
London Boulevard is a big screen adaptation of Ken Bruen's 2001
fictional crime novel of the same name and a directorial debut for
William Monahan of Departed (2006) fame, for which he contributed the
screen play in Martin Scorcese's seminal Oscar triumph. Monahan manages
to assemble a pretty interesting cast for the job matching big name
attractions notably Colin Farrell for the lead of Mitchell an ex-con
trying to place his life on the straight and narrow who finds
complications aplenty but centrally in the shape of Keira Knightley
playing Charlotte, a reclusive actress in need of Mitchell's muscle in
order to fend off pesky paparazzi, perform some odd jobs around her
abode whilst also seeking comfort in his softer side when making use of
Mitchell as a confidante.
The strength of the piece is in the supporting cast who mainly transpire as conduits for Mitchells struggle with the temptations of a potential return to his old ways. Leading the second tier is Ray Winstone as crime lord Gant who genuinely creates an atmosphere of dread when on screen as he attempts to lure Farrell back to the dark-side. David Thewlis is equally adept as he plays Jordan a drug induced failed thespian who is Charlotte's business manager. There are also roles for Ben Chaplin as a blundering hood whilst Stephen Graham and Eddie Marsan are shamefully under used in their minor roles.
As you might be thinking there is a lot a going on here and that's sort of where Monahan gets into trouble, the narrative is littered with plot-holes and semi developed ideas and characters such as Anna Friel who pops in and out the story as a Mitchell's troubled sister, this is largely a product of the derivative nature of the project. Monahan seems to be tipping his hat at the types of movie he himself has indulged, for example there is clear a sense of early Guy Ritchie in style of the visuals, soundtrack and occasional attempts at humour. The mood and tone owes more to Scorcese traits such as an angry gratuitous racism and overly proud glorification of the gangster life style. It's a rarity when a film could be said to be too short, but one way London Boulevard could have been improved is an extra 45 minutes or so to pay attention to its many details.
The major task London Boulevard will have is proving it has any substance, it will be interesting to see if William Monahan will be encouraged to take this debut any further and perfect or enhance his directorial style with future work, if so this could be remembered more fondly as part of a bigger picture. If not it will fall through the cracks of irrelevance rather quickly.
Really, really, enjoyed this film. Colin Farrell is back on form. He should stick to straight forward, tough guy, black comedy rather than galavanting around on a horse in Alexander! The film reminds me of the type of filming that made me love 'In Bruges'. The atmosphere between Farrell and Ray Winston is pretty intense. Lady actresses Anna Friel and Keira Knightly are gorgeous and Anna plays a great role as Farrell's pain in the ass sister. David Thewlis is great and actually enjoyed seeing a cast made up of mainly British actors/actresses. I would strongly advise going to see this film. Better than expected. Only thing I would have changed was a different last minute to the film.
I went into this film expecting a cool,tense,exciting Brit thriller.
The trailer looked decent and the acting talent on show made me want to
give it a go. Overall though it failed to deliver on the promising
looking opening credits. It lacked any real tension or suspense, the
story felt underdeveloped with too many subplots and a lot of it just
fails to convince. Many parts of the film are just not believable
The acting is fairly strong and there are a couple of elegant visual touches;(Farrell in the car for example).In my opinion,the soundtrack is the best thing about the film. Serge Pizzorno from Kasabian had a hand in the music on this one and he has done a good job with a 60's/70's spaghetti western/French art-house vibe if you can imagine such a thing!
Finally its worth noting that I asked my girlfriend to contribute her thoughts after seeing the film and she gave me a one word reply..........."sh*te"
I really enjoyed this movie, kept my eyes on the screen till the end. I
just couldn't get bored when the movie is full with events and so many
interesting characters. These characters are having their own
interesting stories, and I think it was a good decision not to develop
it more. We see only what's relevant to Farrell's character.
"London Boulevard" is about a man in some troubles, surrounded by people with their problems. It's a mess from which the main character must get out. This movie isn't supposed to be profound, it's intense. it's not about how Farrell makes his decisions and his inner conflicts, we just get to see how he tries to break through.
I enjoyed the storyline and wouldn't even dare to judge its credibility. I just put this in the "inside view" category. It's London the way tourists wont see it probably. Acting was great for all cast! This is the right place for Farrell. I would only object Knightley, but this could be just my taste.
After watching the movie, there was only one thing that disappointed me, and that is - the end. This is not a philosophical movie, the end shouldn't raise questions. And the question raised at the end is not even philosophical... it's just lack of information. Still... I don't think one minute ruined the film.
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