London Kills Me (1991) Poster

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Intelligent, subtle film to be seen repeatedly.
Enphata11 September 1998
I found this film to be very touching and intelligent in the subtlety of language and human interaction it portrays. It's not overwhelming, as many films with drug/street culture themes are, but, rather, very intent on describing the emotional nuances of the characters' personalities. Unlike more popular films which describe a downward spiral and general glamour of a pathetic existence, this film concentrates on the human evolutionary condition into something better than one was yesterday. The main character is such a sweet personality, that, unlike "Trainspotting,", I really felt emotionally involved in the story, rather than just watching it out of a misguided curiosity as to what it would be like to be an addict. Overall, London Kills Me has just the right mix of "style," drama, and comedy to make it a film I'd recommend for anyone to watch more than once.
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Magnificent Acting, Inspired Script
Shlomtzie3 June 2000
See this movie! Sure, the lives of the characters in it are terribly sad, but the only grim sort of sadness I felt, watching this, was due to the overwhelming lack of such richness in most American films. We're talking actors who throw themselves into their parts, rather than ride the oily wave of celebrity. We're talking a script that tackles, with only minute concessions to gimmickry (at times the playfulness crosses over into winsomeness), the true complexity of human beings. Clint, Muffdiver, and Sylvie are multi-faceted, unfolding (but only so far--no easy answers here) characters. The end's a bit tidy, but this remains a minor qualm in light of the film's rewards.
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I love this film
weeks_lisa8 January 2007
I picked it up at the video store about 10 years ago, because the title caught my eye. I was very surprised to find that the movie was very entertaining; with serious bits, but oh such funny bits too. I loved the wittiness of it. It took me a year before I was able to locate a place to purchase it. I have it in my library now and watch it every so often. I LOVE "Clint Eastwood! Justin Chadwick is perfect as Clint Eastwood.

The characters are very real, and you truly begin to feel for each one of them. Even the supporting cast gives such life to their characters. Of course Steve McIntosh is great as Muff Diver, McIntosh never disappoints with his acting.
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I loved it
Zardok26 April 2003
I watched this movie when it came out and I really loved it. I loved the characters because they reminded me of myself or of my friends I either had or wished I had. Granted, the story has no grand significance nor does it attempt to. It's simply a tale of a few delinquents living their weird lives in London trying to get something out of life, whether it's a fix, a job, or a pair of shoes.
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One of the better 90s urban-ite movies
kim30323 January 2005
I really like this film! Of course the apparent main story of the shoes is nonsense, but I see this as a kind of a modern fairy tale. A very likable, light hearted story of a group of misfits & druggies going on with their life. I could relate to the characters quite well and many of them reminded me of people I know so even though basically they are obvious caricatures, IMO they are based enough on reality to make them fit for a film. The pace of the film is very loose & relaxed, and it has that special kind of... (sorry I'm not a native speaker) serendipity? Surprising beauty of very ordinary things that emerge from the everyday noise & chaos. The scene where the posse visits the countryside is very bitterly beautiful in so many ways.

It's not a documentary, so I won't really go into the subject of it giving a realistic image of the early 90s England or not.
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M.Rotten18 October 1999
I rented this movie , just seeing it there on the shelf. I had no idea what to expect. I watched it and thought it was wonderful. Clint is very adorable, very lost, very determined. He is trying to get out and all that matters is his pair of nice shoes. He has transferred all his hopes for a new life and a future outside of drugs in this one very simple thing. Its a beautiful concept. The other characters left me wanting more, but yet being satisfied with that feeling. I was left with the feeling of respect for tiny things that I take for granted sometimes and a great respect for a good pair of shoes or as Clint would say a "cute boot"!
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No more complaints about American cinema, please.
Buzz Vinard25 April 2002
Warning: Spoilers
Although my exposure to world cultures is limited, I do try. This was a film that I tried and hated. Worst of all, after hearing so many people decry the shallowness of typical Hollywood fare and its stereotypical caricatures, I saw characters too outrageous for "Eastenders" being paraded as realistic.

Clint wants out of the drug life and to do this he aspires to be a waiter. Aim high, I always say. Brad Dorif, or a faxed photo of him, or quite possibly a curly wig on a stick, it was hard to tell, offers to hire Clint if he gets a pair of shoes.

Clint, and a huge entourage, apparently wander the whole of England trying to get him some shoes. Eventually, they end up at a suburban home. Whose isn't clear. Mum helps a girl shoot up. Oh, now THERE'S some realism for you! Mrs. Brady may have been a ridiculous stereotype of American housewives, but she never helped Marsha tie off and find a vein. Good God! Dad comes home and sings some Elvis tunes and then chases the kids away.

Why didn't Clint borrow some money and buy shoes at a second hand store? Why didn't he go to a church and ask a kindly nun for some help? Why didn't he hang out in front of a shoe store and panhandle? I just don't know! None of these things seemed to be beneath him. Benevolent groups, like Goodwill and the Salvation Army have stores to help people. I know people who work there! If someone with no money showed up and needed shoes, the staff would give the person some shoes. Maybe not Prada or Gucci, but some form of foot covering. Not many of these groups hand out cell phones to the underprivileged, but shoes are usually no problem. What a dumb concept. The world, or at least the western part of it, simply isn't that cruel. In England, maybe it's from "The Queen's Royal Charity" rather than Goodwill, but people who need shoes do get them.

Aside from the quest for shoes, there was no discernable plot to get in the way of the action. Not that it made the movie any quicker or more bearable, mind you. Despite checking the tape jacket several times, I was not watching the 20-hour extended version, it only seemed that way.

Did Clint get his shoes? Did the cardboard cutout of Brad Dourif hire him at the restaurant? Did I ever watch anything else foreign ever again?

Yes, yes, and yes.

As for the fate of this particular film, I decided to end it all. I took out my S&W .45 and shot a half-inch hole through the cassette. Blammo! (I made sure to rewind it first.) I put it back in the tape sleeve, returned it to the rental store, and amazingly NO ONE EVER CALLED TO ASK ABOUT IT!!! Meaning, of course, that no one else rented it for at least the remaining three years I lived in that city. Others knew something that I didn't. Live and learn.

BTW, if you rent something you've never seen before and someone has actually put a bullet through it, take it as a sign. And if you work at the Kroger video department, I'm just kidding.

Footnote: this classic has yet to see the light of day on DVD, for which we should be eternally thankful to the digital gods.
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sfboy10124 February 2001
I'm a big fan of Hanif Kureishi -- I think his screenplays for "My Beautiful Laundrette" and "Sammy and Rosie Get Laid" are brilliant. In both of those movies, the worlds he creates are so complete: friends, families, sex, money, expectations and loss all add up to real people doing interesting things in unique situations. The same goes for the book and miniseries "The Buddha of Suburbia," a great exploration of an extended family in 1970's London.

This movie, however, shoots for the same heights but misses badly. Characters are unlikeable. Situations ridiculous. Language is relentlessly coarse but doesn't further the characterizations. Perhaps the hero's quest for a decent pair of shoes is meant as a parable -- if so, it was a rough little story that didn't teach me anything.

Kureishi's other works remain some of my favorites, but after this movie was over I needed a shower. Looking for a good rental? Try "Sammy and Rosie" or "Laundrette." If you have two or three nights to watch the tape, find a video store with "Buddha."
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I was in this movie
bob-10756 July 2004
as an extra. To be honest I always thought it would be bad - and sure enough - it is. Hanif was pretty well organised on set - but his 2nd Assistant did more. I thought Justin Chadwick was mis-cast. I am in the last scene in the cafe and I am badly cut earlier on - walking past the cafe then suddenly leaping back 10 paces (only I would notice though)

The problem with it is that even with Brad Dourif in it (met him - nice guy) the film has absolutely no international appeal whatsoever. It is so mired in the late eighties - early nineties that is has no universality and the world it portrays - a rather dull UK with a wasted Alun Armstrong as an Elvis impersonator - is completely misleading for any international viewer.

It's interesting that Hanif hasn't flooded the world since with stuff he's directed - no surprise on this evidence - he's a great writer - stick to that.

The £90 I got went on fares and food - shame it didn't put me off a career as an actor - might have stopped me wasting 2 years at drama school!
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Who Cares?
danaluke17 February 1999
If I'm to like a movie, I need to care about the lead characters and what happens to them. In this waste-pod of a film, I found myself hoping that they would all die in the end. None of the characters are people that you'd ever want to meet, they all made me sick. If not for a few nude scenes, I would have given this wretched movie a 1.
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Wonderful movie...
tinita31 January 1999
I've only seen this movie once, but I was impressed how important a pair of shoes can become. This film lets us view life from a totally different, strange view. A view of life, as a drug addict sees it, but somehow is not really unpleasant. The film has got the same quality as films like "Trainspotting" or books as "Camden Girls": we are able to laugh about things actually being really tragic. What a pity that this film is known to so few people...
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