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Against the background of the East End of London England, Nicola Collins explores the fascinating complexity of the lives of her father and his friends: infamous criminals that shaped their war torn environment into a violent underworld. The End is a story never before been told of a group of men with a common bond. All born in the East End of London into poverty striving for a better life and all found that life in crime. Unashamed and unapologetic these men live their lives defined by a code of honor. The End reveals the bloody history and the confessions of the cockney gangster. Written by
I attended a special screening in the East End of London of the 70 min version of this very personal documentary, directed & produced by twin daughters of one of the (real) East End ex-gangsters.
The first half was the best using ECU/CU/MCU shots of the ex-gangsters as they catalogued their inter-gang violence, which match Godfather I for horror content. Understandably they could only talk about crimes for which they had been caught & tried, which makes you wonder what other worse things they may have done! It also used a very specific editing style, which helped build a threatening atmosphere to match the content - not quite confessions as they mostly seemed quite proud of their ultra-violent reputations.
The second half was less consistent, with a inter-mix of sub-themes: reflections on their early lives; how each handled 'retirement' to normal life; views on the East End now vs then; etc. Whilst many of the individual elements were interesting, I was left wondering where the film was going. The editing was also less stylised & consistent.
The screening was followed by a Q&A with the director & producer. It was quite poignant that they retain their E London accents though they now live in LA, where the film was financed & presumably edited. The documentary is intended to explain what led their father & his friends into such a violent life of crime, and to be a record of the old East End, which has changed beyond all recognition. In that I think they have succeeded.
Don't be put off seeing it because of my modest score - I would have scored the first half much higher & it is definitely worth a look.
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