A vicious London gangster, Jack Carter, travels to Newcastle for his brother's funeral. He begins to suspect that his brother's death was not an accident and sets out to follow a complex trail of lies, deceit, cover-ups and backhanders through Newcastle's underworld, leading, he hopes, to the man who ordered his brother killed. Because of his ruthlessness, Carter exhibits all the unstopability of the cyborg in The Terminator (1984), or Walker in Point Blank (1967), and he and the other characters in this movie are prone to sudden, brutal acts of violence.Written by
Mark Thompson <email@example.com>
The club singer (Denea Wilde), seen flirting and fighting, was in reality a larger-than-life character, who made her local estate in Newcastle a great place to live. She apparently used a walking stick, and was renowned for her liberal use of the "f" word, no matter to whom she was talking, or where she was. Everyone knew her simply as "Dene". See more »
At around 1:18:30 as Jacks shoves the soggy Glenda into the boot of her car, in the top left of the screen the balding head of the driver can be seen hunched over trying not be seen in-shot. As Michael Caine didn't drive (manual transmission at least), this is presumably the person who drives the car away. See more »
Mike Hodges and Michael Caine have made a timeless film.
Jack Carter, the reserved London gangster, travels north to Newcastle, his home town, to find the cause of his brother's death. He's warned by his bosses not to go, but refuses to obey them. We, and he, discover the reasons for the warning, which are intertwined with the details of his brother's fate, and watch Carter's quest for revenge reach its logical conclusion. The underworld life sets a kitschy vision of glamour - music-box decanter sets, flashy bespoke suits, and garishly decorated villas - against the grotty reality of arcade slot machines, pornographic 8mm films, and the claustrophobic grubbiness of Newcastle's industrial tenements. Carter, who prides himself on a style of detached shrewdness, navigates both worlds, until he discovers that they're intertwined, sickeningly. The corruption which provides him his living has tainted his own family. I think the centre of the film is the brilliant moment when Carter sits in bed in the flickering light of a projector, discovering the truth about his world. He weeps, silently, knowing what he must now do. But vengeance is all he knows, and it consumes him.
This story captures with great subtlety the coarse truths about poverty, and crime, which are as true today in Canada and the US as they were forty years ago in England. There's no heroism, no loyalty, no glamour. We feel a kind of sorrowful revulsion at the squalid reality of Carter's world, even as we fear the intensity of his quest for his brother's killers. And we realise we've seen a perfect film of its kind - exceptionally skillful acting, cinematography and editing, bringing to life a taut script. Never again will we fall for the false romanticism of crime.
23 of 25 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this