The Reckoning (1970) Poster


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Once a bloody Irish bastard, always a bloody Irish bastard!
Coventry10 March 2014
Move over, Michael Caine! Your "Get Carter" might very well be acclaimed around the world and listed as one of the most virulent British cult thrillers ever made, but this obscure and undiscovered (and, at one point, even considered lost) drama/thriller with very reminiscent themes predates your film with nearly two years AND it's a lot more ambitious in terms of character study and social criticism!

Okay, so now that's off my chest… Don't get me wrong, I don't have anything against Michael Caine or "Get Carter". Quite the contrary, in fact, but I just want to plea for "The Reckoning" to become more known and loved amongst cult fanatics worldwide! What this puppy needs is a proper and fancy DVD-release, as I'm 200% sure it will appeal to a lot of cult collectors. The film really has it all: an unbelievable intense tour-de-force performance by Nicol Williamson, a grim & gritty contemporary late 60's/early 70's atmosphere, few but exhilarating action sequences and numerous of mind-boggling dialogs. Michael Marler is a successful businessman in London, but in spite of all his power and money he is bitter (especially in his marriage with the beautiful Rosemary), merciless (especially in his job as a sales executive) and aggressive (especially behind the wheel of his car). He is frustrated because he grew up as an oppressed Irishman in the intolerant city of Liverpool and still doesn't manage to put this tough period behind him. Michael returns to Liverpool to see his dying father, but arrives too late. When he learns that his father's death was actually the result of a cowardly assault by young British thugs, his outrageous Irish temper comes to the surface again. But Michael's retro-metamorphosis also has severe consequences when he's back in London. "The Reckoning" is a giant spitfire of highlights, one sequence even more powerful and intense than the next. Unforgettable moments include a Liverpool wrestling match and a party full of vainglorious guests at the Marler residence. And just when you think "The Reckoning" can't get anymore cooler, just wait until you witness the very last sequence. Mr. Marler is a truly unique persona, to say the least. The more employees he intimidates and he more women he seduces, the more you will cheer for him. Williamson, most known for supportive roles and stage plays, gives one of the most underrated performances in cinema history.
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A Powerful, Bravura Picture
ChuckTurner2 December 2012
I am in complete agreement with dan-filson-928-874987: THE RECKONING (which could almost be called a lost film now)is a powerful drama with a bravura performance by Nicol Williamson at its heart. Williamson specialised in being hard to like: he relished the negative attributes of every character he played. His performances tend to be quite broad, but the complete absence of sentimentality keeps them fresh. In THE RECKONING director Jack Gold keeps theatricality at bay. The powerful ending described by dan-filson-928-874987 is a fresh memory for me even after 40 years. Yes, there are similarities to GET CARTER: but CARTER is a genre picture, and THE RECKONING is a character drama. Both films are highly accomplished, but comparing them doesn't really shed much light on either, in my opinion. Time for Columbia or the BFI to get hold of a master and issue this on DVD.
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Bravura performance by Nicol Williamson, and a great Jack Gold ensemble film
dan-filson-928-87498727 December 2011
I disagree with the first reviewer - this is a bravura performance by Nicol Williamson and much better than 'Get Carter'. As an indication of how much I respected this film, my father was in the film industry in London at the time and I was in Manchester as a student. I saw the film poorly advertised in a small cinema and felt it was wholly spoiled by the poor performance of the film's marketing and distributors. So much so that on leaving the cinema I telephoned my father at once from a call box and told him how highly I rated it. He may have been startled to hear from me as I was the typical uncommunicative student, never writing home.

The film not only has Williamson but also Rachel Roberts giving a good performance, and the ensemble cast does some fine work - there is a brilliant mocking of life in a Virginia Water type of suburbia where all have quality cars in their drives and trite conversation over canapés. It is critical in its style of the mass demolition of the Liverpool slums and is almost elegiac at what is lost thereby, much in the same way as was The Likely Lads TV series. 'Get Carter' is more vulgar, with Michael Caine producing shotguns and leaving bodies about. Williamson is much more earthy - there is a brutal kicking in the film which really makes you wince.

It's also, in its way, a tribute to a kind of Brendan Behan Irishness that was being squeezed out of Britain's cities - the hard-working, hard-living heavy-drinking workers who actually built things with their muscles as opposed to the prissy types who never dirtied their hands. This is why the Williamson character is such an outcast in his smooth London corporate job (in the heart of a City of London that would over the next 15 years also be transformed) but nonetheless effective in his own rough and ready blunt way.

One superb moment is at the end of the film when Williamson driving his Jaguar at breakneck speed has jumped a Stop sign at a roadworks and is racing down a single track sure that oncoming traffic must be starting his way shortly. He just gets away with it, at the expense of a few traffic cones and similar, and one of those in the car says words to the effect "If you can get away with that, you can get away with anything". As he does (I won't spoil the plot by saying more). This is not a sanitized look at Liverpool but a cold stare. Jack Gold made a great film here and it deserved better of its distributors who did not have faith in the product.
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If I can get away with that I can get away with anything
dilsonbelper22 September 2017
A real taste of 70s Britain here, social injustice, poverty, and social climbing all brought together with the Irish Liverpool way, Get Carter would be a reference but in a way this brilliant movie is different, yes it is a revenge Northern movie but it has so much more to offer, if you grew up in an Irish household in England then you would really relate to some of this movie.Try it out you won't be disappointed I give this 9/10
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an amazing shocking film
ib011f9545i12 August 2018
I am 57 years old. and have been a film fan all my life. I have seen many many films but until yesterday I had not seen this film.

I give no spoilers but the film involves family loyalty,personal ambition and an Irish Catholic background in Liverpool in the late 1960s.

It features great acting from actors and actresses that I had not seen much of before.

This film is out on blu ray and I intend to buy it as soon as I can.

If you like Kes and Get Carter and Villain you need to seek this one out.

It is currently on Talking Pictures channel in the UK
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A curio at best.
MOscarbradley28 September 2018
Jack Gold made his name on British television and "The Reckoning", which he made in 1970, often has the feeling of television drama about it and this is both something of a compliment and a curse in that, while it often displays a certain intelligence in its handling of the relationships on view, it is also blighted by a shooting style more in keeping with the small screen than the large.

It is adapted by John McGrath from Patrick Hall's novel "The Harp that Once" and centres on working-class Liverpool lad Mick Marler, who has made it big in the world of London business and who has returned home for his father's funeral. It's a strange, somewhat schizophrenic film, part thriller and part character study, reasonably entertaining on one level and yet constantly misfiring. Nicol Williamson, who plays Marler, was at the time considered to be the finest stage actor of his generation but you would never guess it from his performance here. It's an hysterical, over-played piece of acting; a juicy slice of ham and he's virtually never off the screen. He's half sympathetic anti-hero and half hissable villain and he plays to the gods. It's left to Rachel Roberts in the much too small a part of an oversexed doctor's receptionist to walk off with the picture. She certainly looks like she's enjoying herself and is having a grand time upstaging the male lead. Other fine actors like Paul Rodgers and Ann Bell are wasted. A curio at best.
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Brutal character study
Leofwine_draca15 September 2018
Warning: Spoilers
THE RECKONING is a hard-hitting character study based around Nicol Williamson, playing a ruthless businessman in London who heads north to Liverpool when his father is beaten to death by a thug. Similar in feel to GET CARTER, this is a gritty and ice-cold look at a man adrift in the modern world. Williamson's character is pure anti-hero; he's repulsive and slimy, given to bedding women and tossing them aside when he's finished with him, and yet the depth and realism of his character makes him identifiable and all too human. The revenge story isn't as pronounced as in the Michael Caine movie, but there are some hard-hitting moments here amid the scene-setting and era evocation.
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Disappointing and overlong
malcolmgsw16 October 2018
Warning: Spoilers
This is a film that should have been much better.Williamson character goes up to Liverpool and beats up his father's supposed attacker.Nothing follows on from it.So you feel like you have been watching a 111 minute long non sequitur. Rachel Roberts is in there somewhere wasting her talent.I do not know what it is about Nicole Williamson,but I never took a liking to him.He plays a nasty brutish character with no redeeming features as if to the manner born.This is a justly forgotten film.
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