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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In 2004, this movie was selected as the number one British movie of all time by the British magazine Total Film. See more »
When Jack Carter kills Margaret by administering an overdose, as she dies her head falls to her right side. When the police later recover her body from the lake at Kinnear's home, her head is turned to her left side. See more »
Strongman and enforcer Jack Carter (Michael Caine) returns to his native North East (of England) to investigate the suspicious death of his brother. Here he encounter a world of sleaze, booze, violence, casual sex and people in search of easy money.
Hard to call it a classic early British gangster film given that they were so few around, but more a cracking thriller that makes full use of its cast, plot and (unusual) Newcastle Upon Tyne location.
Writer-Director Mike Hodges wanted violence with reality and he delivers it with real punch. Unlike most thrillers bystanders are not immune from the action and at various stages harsh punishment is handed out for minor crimes by anti-hero Caine.
Caine underplays his hardman role nicely - letting the action, rather than his emotions, tell the story.
Several people claim real-life events "inspired" this story, but as far as I can tell the only direct reference to real events is that the one-arm bandit business started to earn big money (in the North East) and London gangsters "wanted in." That lead to bloodshed, but that is not the thrust of this film - although one of the main characters is, indeed, in that business.
Having gone to the trouble of reading the screenplay, I was surprised how thin the dialogue was. This is a good example of how it is better to "show" things rather than "tell." I did learn, however, that the thugs that come to beat Caine up are supposed to be gay - one may wear a pink neckerchief but I thought that was just the dandy fashions of the day!
Those that are not familiar with Newcastle may also like to note that the place is nowhere near the sea, in case you decide to take a holiday up there and are thinking of packing your trunks!
On release the film did well enough in the UK, but died a death in the USA due to being released as a double bill with Dirty Dingus Magee: A terrible Frank Sinatra movie.
If you like hard-edged thrillers that don't play nice then Get Carter may well be worth your time and effort.
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