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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The message in writer & director William Monahan's unsavory crime
thriller "London Boulevard" is if you're going to be a successful
gangster, you must behave in a heartlessly ruthless manner. Never miss
an opportunity to kill somebody who deserves it no matter what the
situation. Colin Farrell plays Mitchel, a prisoner who has done his
time and doesn't want trouble from anyone until he encounters a
fearless, deviant London criminal figure, Gant (Ray Winstone), who
enjoys killing without a qualm. Gant admires Mitchel after the latter
takes a terrible beating for Billy Norton (Ben Chaplin of "The Trouble
with Cats and Dogs")another member of Gant's gang. Although Michel has
an opportunity to become a rising star in the London underworld, he
turns his back on his chance after he watches Gant kill an unarmed,
innocent black man in cold blood. Indeed, Gant is a first-rate bastard
with bizarre sexual proclivities. No sooner than Mitchel refuses to
work for Gant, the evil Gant murders Mitchel's young sister with a
hammer to the skull. Our sympathetic hero tracks down the callous Gant,
kills him in cold blood with a silenced automatic pistol and frames
Gant's mistress for his demise. Meantime, Mitchel has been acting as a
bodyguard of sorts to a reclusive celebrity, Charlotte (Keira Knightley
of "Pirates of the Caribbean"), who falls in love with him. Charlotte's
close friend, Jordan (David Thewlis of "Naked"), hires Mitchel to watch
over Charlotte who is besieged by scores of tabloid paparazzi.
Nothing about this atmospheric London gangster thriller is either memorable or entertaining. A top-notch cast is squandered, especially Keira Knightley. Just when Mitchel appears to be getting ahead and evening up the score, somebody whom he least expects after him with tragic consequences. "London Boulevard" is the kind of movie that deserved an alternate ending like "Layer Cake." If you love gritty British gangster thrillers along the lines of "Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels" or "Snatch," be forewarned: "London Boulevard" qualifies as a dead end, despite its polished production values and its prestigious director with his love for irony.
The F-word is bandied about far more than is necessary by characters other than those you might expect it of. With big names like Colin Farrell and Kiera Knightly you might be fooled into thinking that the movie must be good and it could have been if only some of those swear words were replaced with something that gave the characters believable motivations for the things they do in this film. The synopsis says this is about an ex-con falling in love with a reclusive actress but you barely see evidence of a romance. Too much time is spent on things inconsequential to the story line leaving the viewer wondering at the end what was the point.
There's a ton of British gangster films and even more if you want to expand the genre to Scotland and Ireland and include lower level despicables (Try NIL BY MOUTH). Ray WInstone has charmed several and Colin Farrell has hit around the edges. But I've never seen a more over-the-top, ridiculous, incomprehensible effort as London BOULEVARD. I'm always generous with poetic license but here we are treated with a ruffian of ill defined station and background who walks out of the pokey and directly, without a hint of plausibility, into the heart of the local crime lord and resident superstar. Our hero Mitchel has somehow developed the ability to (1) get beaten by four large thugs without damage to his good looks, (2) get in the face of a body guarded kingpin who kills others for looking cross-eyed and (3) kill with impunity, all while chain smoking and running the gamut of emotions from A all the way to B. On the bright side, David Thewlis and Ben Chapman are fine actors we should be seeing a lot of and but for them L-B would be a "2". Eddie Marsen offers his usual excellent work. WInstone, Farrell and Knightly do as much as possible with next to nothing.
A convict is released from prison. He immediately finds himself working
as a bodyguard for a reclusive actress, while simultaneously involved
with a ruthless crime lord. He becomes romantically involved with the
actress and rejects the advances of the gangster. This leads to trouble
London Boulevard is a crime drama which doesn't serve up anything new at all. The bad but good-at-heart ex-con is a common character in this type of film. While a gangster played by Ray Winstone is also something you've probably seen before as well. The actress played by Keira Knightly is a fairly uninteresting character that we never really get to understand, while her drug-addled hippy sidekick is a somewhat tedious presence. So the characters aren't really all that engaging to begin with. The story itself is a well-worn affair with few surprises. And it's soundtracked with a selection of British trad rock songs which seems appropriate given that everything else is so familiar and clichéd.
It's not exactly a bad film, just a very mediocre one. A crime drama by numbers you could say.
Not one to do reviews (this is my first), but felt the need after watching what I felt was otherwise a very enjoyable film. A little dis jointed I must agree, but the factor that motivated me to write being the very poor ending. OK if it was originally a novel and that ended the same way, you can forgive a little bit, but to glorify knife (albeit Stanley knife) crime is wrong in so many different ways, why could we not have had a happy ending??? Films regularly change novels to suit and do they not shoot alternate endings anymore? Can't see too many 'normal' people going for the one in the film tbh. Ruined the film for me and lost at least 3 points off the score!
I watch the film yesterday at home and I really forced myself to stay until the end! It was truly disgusting and it's a pity that good actors are wasted in trash movies like this. There was no central plot, no meaning of what was happening or why, no romance as it is implied by the film's description, no real action, no character depth, just brutal, unjustifiable violence and crappy dialogs. I wasted my time....and it's not the only film that deceives the audience. It seems some kind of trend to put big names in non-existing films just to make you pay the ticket..I don't think this is a good policy.....people are not idiots I rate this film with 0.
i don't know where to start this film is full of great British
actors/actresses why is it so bad ..was at a loss on a Sunday afternoon
pulled up sky anytime saw cast list load and go .....so disappointing
just does not work guys look great girls look hot locations spot on but
story like a bad episode of the Sweeney the music is really intrusive
60s/70s rubbish thats really too loud i fell asleep 3/4 OK the way
through i awoke asked my wife any good?reply ...rubbish
this is the first time I've reviewed on this site i love Farrell and Winston such a shame honestly with its potential this is on of the worst films i have ever seen
Mitchel (Collin Farrell) is just released from prison. And he don't
have any intention of going back in though his good old life has quite
a few creative methods of living to put him back there. Not exactly a
gangster but hot tempered and known around the block, Mitchel looks for
a fresh start. He gets to work for a solitary actress Charlotte (Keira
Knightley) who is broken after controversy and disturbed to brim with
paparazzi. In the mean time find's him selves caught up between a gang
lord and his so called friend who wants to recruit him for their dirty
work. Unexpectedly falling for the actress and making the biggest gang
lord in town his grave enemy, Mitchel starts to struggle to balance his
life and get out of everything clean.
"London Boulevard" is an entertaining movie. It has drama, crime and quite a bit of action in it as well. And it's quite straight and brutal when it comes to shooting and killing people. Amidst all that the movie firmly builds up the Mitchel character which is portrayed well by Farrell (By now I'm quite disappointed of him not appearing in Hollywood movies anymore). He got a sister who is mischievous whom he tries to take care of the way he can, but hard to tolerate with. He got friends whom are junkies or crooks he really cannot trust. All he wants is to live clean but that's the only thing he fails to achieve. The other characters are pretty much strong as well. Charlotte the actress seems to have a lot going around her and now looking for early retirement after disliking many what had happened. The gang lord Gran likes to show his might around the block and a tough guy in a clean suit.
The movie has a good phase. It hardly drags or hardly over accelerates. The script is good which I had a little difficult time to catch up due to British pronunciation and sub titles came for my rescue.
However comparing with those good gang movies which came out in Britton like Layer Cake or Green Street Hooligans, London Boulevard is pretty immature. It has a good plot but not a very creative one or a memorable one. You may enjoy this movie no doubt. But if you felt that it ended too soon welcome to my boat.
More of my reviews at flickshout.blogspot.com
There are a lot of empty moments throughout London Boulevard. The story
centers around a brooding ex-con Mitch (Colin Ferrel) who has just been
released from prison. Old habits die hard in this character driven
melo-drama set in a very dreary England, where the hero can't help but
fall back on his violent nature.
It is not so much a bad story as it is a bad execution. It begs to be told at a quicker pace. The hero's haunted past is never truly flushed out and even with it's neat little aha-ending, it does not resolve enough in it's philosophy. The character's stand as types rather than people, showcasing how the quest for beautiful privacy in the celebrity world (Keira Knightly) crossed with the seedy private dealings in Mitch's crime world can mesh so seamlessly when provoked.
As far as gangster films go there have been worse. But even the gangsters of LB, in their ruthlessness, leave something to be desired in the way that they are captured on film. Where Tarantino might not show an ear being shaved off, in London Boulevard we hardly see the deeply vicious violence but only it's aftermath.
It's pacing is slow and the story is not grand enough to allow it to dribble on the way it does before fizzling out at it's lackluster conclusion.
I hated this movie; thought it was ridiculous, especially its ending.
It left me thinking I'd wasted 2 hours of my life. I didn't see the
point to this movie and keep waiting for more
only for the movie to end
without any climax.
Thought the cast seemed good but none of the acting was good; I just didn't buy any of it.
Felt like movie was trying to be like The Departed...but ended up being a very sad attempt at it and very disappointing as a result.
The script is has so many ridiculous story lines and the ending is weak. Don't see it!!
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