An ex-con who's taken part in the robbery of a racetrack is caught and sent back to prison, but he won't tell his fellow gang members where he's stashed the loot. The gang kidnaps his girlfriend and has him tortured in prison in an effort to find out where the money is.Written by
The racecourse that Stanley Baker robs is Hurst Park. It opened in 1890 and closed in October 1962. See more »
After Johnny kicks the partygoers out of his apartment, he starts to run a bath then gets out a sun ray lamp, lies on his bed and is about to switch the lamp on when he discovers Suzanne in the bed. There is no scene showing him turning the bath taps off or showing the bath overflowing. See more »
No doubt about it, Stanley Baker is a riveting screen presence. He commands just by appearing. Maybe it's that patented jut-jawed intensity. In my little book, he's the main reason for catching up with this British crime drama, which otherwise is a disappointment considering that noir-master Joe Losey is in charge.
Admittedly, I lost some of the British dialogue because of my American ears. Nonetheless, there's a one-note monotony to the visuals, the characters, and the storyline-- no one can be trusted, life is grim, and the visuals rub our nose in the ugliness. Still, the movie is titled Concrete Jungle, not Concrete Vacation, so as far as the marquee is concerned, there is 'truth in packaging'. Nonetheless, there's little suspense or tension in the screenplay, an odd outcome for a crime drama. Events simply follow on one another without much structural development.
Why the robbery itself is passed over is puzzling since that would have provided needed suspense. My guess is that a detailed depiction would have followed too closely on the heels of Kubrick's superb racetrack robbery in The Killing (1956). But, whatever the reason, both the crime and the aftermath are dealt with in unimaginative fashion.
Losey does keep things moving in fast-paced style, while Wanamaker's slippery gangster represents an interesting character. Nonetheless, the result lacks the compelling social ambiguities of his better American films. All in all, I agree with reviewer BOUF—the result is "clunky and uneven", with an "under-developed script". Considering the source, I expected better.
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