|Star:||Ray Winstone, Ben Kingsley, Amanda Redman, Ian McShane|
|Cert / Year:||18 - R / 2000|
Gal (Ray Winstone) is an ex armed robber and London gangster, he has now retired to Spain. He is happy sunning himself in his villa hundreds of miles away from miserable London and his life of crime. Happy that is until hard man gangland boss Don Logan (Ben Kingsley) decides that he wants Gal for a job back in London. Gal doesn't want to do it, but Don is not a man you say no to. This is one last job that he won't be able to turn down.
British gangster movies aren't you sick of them yet? After the hit that wasLock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels it seems that every film to come out of Britain (that isn't a pointlessly soppy Hugh Grant romantic comedy) is of this genre. Well it comes as a pleasant surprise to say that this one is a bit different, concentrating as it does on the plight of one man rather that the job he is asked to do.
The central characters are key to the film. Gal is reluctant to do the job but scared of his bully boy boss, not the sort of vulnerable character that Ray Winstone is usually associated with. Never the less he pulls out a top performance. The winner in the acting stakes though is Ben Kingsley. He ensure that his portrayal of Don is simply nasty and thoroughly un-likeable, a really classic performance. Amanda Redman provides strong support as Gal's wife and Ian McShane (yes, televisions Lovejoy) is good as gangland boss Teddy. The only problem is the mumbling Cavan Kendall and the talentless Julianne White.
Did I say the only problem, well hold on a moment. You see although the acting is for the most part excellent, and the direction very slick, the story is pretty lame. It just doesn't go anywhere, or contain anything other than the most simplistic of plot twists. The bank job is mealy tacked on the end, and to be honest is a bit of an after thought. Maybe the film would have worked better if it had concentrated on just the relationship between Gal and Don, but I feel that wouldn't have been a marketable. The dialogue is initially interesting, being as it is mostly stilted and more importance is placed on what isn't said rather than what is. However before long this becomes tiring and the excessive us of profanity loses its shock value and becomes annoying. At the end of the film I was wishing that someone would just say what they meant and be done with it.
There is no doubt that this is a stylish and well directed film. The acting talent on show is first class and the main characters brilliantly portrayed. It's just that this story would work so much better as a play rather than a film. It is as pointless as it is obvious, and the dialogue is annoying as it is hip. It is a shame that the main characters could have been placed in a better film. So while this makes a change from what has become an overused genre, it does have its own faults. Lock Stock and The Long Good Friday still rule this roost and while this is worth a watch, it really it time that the British film industry moved on.
Sometimes It's Hard To Say No.
Gal: I am gonna have to turn this opertunity down.
Don: You're gonna have to turn this opportunity yes!