Follows two infamous London gangsters, Mickey Mannock and Ray Collishaw. Both men are top of the food chain when their world is turned upside down as they lose a shipment of the Russian Mafi... Read allFollows two infamous London gangsters, Mickey Mannock and Ray Collishaw. Both men are top of the food chain when their world is turned upside down as they lose a shipment of the Russian Mafia's cocaine.Follows two infamous London gangsters, Mickey Mannock and Ray Collishaw. Both men are top of the food chain when their world is turned upside down as they lose a shipment of the Russian Mafia's cocaine.
I really did want to like this as it had so much potential.....
I was keen to see the this film, having heard a great deal about it when it was in pre-production, and the premise for the movie sounded interesting. During a football match between Germany and the UK, while the Police would have their hands full, a great diamond heist would be attempted by a London Firm. So far, so modern 'Italian Job'. A good idea that wasn't an American movie or a re-make. We've had a fair few gangster turkeys thrown our way in recent years, but this one had promise. It's the directing debut of 'Frank Harper' and with the team he assembled, it would be a good film. So I approached it with probably more enthusiasm than others that have reviewed here and will be as constructive as I can. The good: The cinematography is really nice, wide and sweeping shots make the best of the locations of London, Amsterdam and Berlin, though some of them serve no purpose. While the film looks nice and is slick, unfortunately the bad really lets it down. The story revolves around a London firm made up of two brothers and numerous other characters. Head of the firm is Micky (Harper himself). The dialogue in the first twenty minutes leaves you wincing, with the F word thrown into every line in abandon, with less effect the more frequently it is used - Yes we know cockneys and bad boys swear a lot, but sometimes less really is more. Characters have their own catch phrases 'Let me stop you right there son ' which I am guessing was to establish the familiar nature they have with each other to comical effect but falls painfully flat and sometimes is just embarrassing. The basic premise of the film, a heist under the cover of a football game doesn't really happen until the last quarter of the film, because our characters have to be placed in peril first in order to make the heist a necessity, fair enough, but it takes so long to get there that the heist itself almost feels inconsequential. There is also no real feel of a football game really taking place in Germany, making me wonder why the producers didn't wait until there was one and grab a couple of cameras and go out and film a ton of footage that could have been used to emphasise that there was a UK presence in the country, one shot of extras walking down grey steps (Which could be anywhere) isn't enough to demonstrate this, nice though it maybe. There is talk of days of a better England back in the day, and reference to Henry V but when someone says 'Hey you're never believe it, the job is on Saint George's Day' that's where the relevance of the title begins and ends. A subplot involving a 'grass' in the firm and another brothers attempt to leave and start a new life try to add some humanity to the story but one adds little and the other is left unresolved in a very unrealistic way when you consider the rules of the universe here that Harper has created. None of this can really substitute for the fact there that there is no real build up, tension or drama to the very hollow ending. The variable acting really diminishes the effect of some of the characters as they struggle with the most banal dialogue imaginable. While the cast is filled out with some credible players such as Charles Dance (Who acts the pants off everyone he is in a scene with) and good indie britflick regulars Maskell, Fairbrass and Walters (A far better actor than the roles he is often given) who do their best but everyone struggles with the poor material. Vincent Reagen is so underused he might as well not have been there. Sean Pertwee is suitably sleazy as a bent copper but Jamie Foreman almost looks like he has stepped out of another time period as Micky's Policeman nemesis and Nick Moran is embarrassingly posh as a rich business yuppie. (Because anyone who isn't hard or cockney must be rich and irritating) Not all the dialogue is terrible, there were one or two moments of brilliance here and there but they were lost. Other reviews have mentioned the long tracks of voice-over, all of it Harper himself, leaving you in no doubt that he is the main architect of this creation. Much of it really isn't needed - things are explained in such a perfunctory way, when really the trust should have been placed in the actors to deliver much of this information. In 'Harpers world' female characters are reduced to being 'wets' or dumb blonde's to put it politely, and while I am not denying that such characters exist, it doesn't mean a film needs to be over populated with them to prove the point, nor does it make for good viewing. Yes, your target audience might be young men in the 18 to 40 age bracket who watch football and read lads mags but that doesn't mean you have to reduce every female in your story to their perception of a good night out. The Long Good Friday is given a mention in the script here, so it's worth noting one of the things that makes that movie so great is Helen Mirren's character. There are no such rivals for her crown here, women being reduced to meaningless bimbo's or drug couriers. I really wanted to like this film, and it had such promise but for his debut Harper really should have trusted in a good writer and cast himself in a more supporting role and lets other share in what could have been a great deal of glory of a good film. Alas here, as we are reminded so often in the credits (Both at the beginning and at the end of the film in case we somehow forgot) , this is a film of Harpers making.
- Feb 20, 2013
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