In the face of demise in his values, a socialist in England decides to form a gang and rob banks for a living.In the face of demise in his values, a socialist in England decides to form a gang and rob banks for a living.In the face of demise in his values, a socialist in England decides to form a gang and rob banks for a living.
The film begins with Robert Carlyle and Ray Winstone, two of England's great screen badasses, breaking into a drug dealer's apartment, posing as police officers in order to raid his cash and his stash. The next scene begins the unfolding of the mainline of the plot, a bank robbery. And they have their logistics man, Robert Carlyle's old friend from prison, et cetera. Then the third event in the film is the inevitable betrayal within the heist crew. And of course there's Carlyle's nagging, guilt-laying girlfriend. I've always wondered what else will happen in a crime film whenever the story's pivotal heist occurs in the first twenty minutes other than betrayals and nagging token female characters. These filmmakers don't seem to have shared my curiosity.
Aside from a small portion of time given to Carlyle's backstory as a war protester, Face is just another recycled crime flick for teenagers telling the age-old tale of a group of violent criminals and what happens to them after they steal a lot of money. It even employs another thriller gimmick: It's set over the course of 48 hours in and around the city, in this case London. What director Antonia Bird, who did later direct a decent Robert Carlyle movie called Ravenous, tries to do is gloss the film with grunge, badassery and style as a substitute for expanding on what she pulled off the assembly line, one of the results of this choice being a soundtrack that is unusually bad for an English gangster film.
I'm sure I'm not being fair enough to this movie. There are several assembly line movies that are entertaining enough, but frankly I don't feel that requires an explanation that differentiates between this and them. To me, if you're making an insincere movie, the audience has the right to be subjective. Whether one considers it a good movie or not is now pure luck. With Face, I was bored and cynical. If it were on TV on a lazy day or when I need to kill a little time, I might stay for a few minutes of the shootout in the street (in which you can briefly hear an unmistakable soundbite of Tim Roth's wailing early in Reservoir Dogs), or for one good if very brief scene, where Carlyle is comforted by Winstone by hugging him when he's crying.
- Aug 4, 2008