Writer/Director: Guy Ritchie
Running time: 107 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 18
UK Release date: 28th August 1998
Watched on Sky+ Sunday 4th November 2012.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
A film I’ve seen many times before but one I always enjoy re-acquainting myself with. Although it suffers slightly from an over-complicated plot it’s always entertaining and that’s probably why I keep coming back to it. Very violent with some very colourful language, it’s not for the feint-hearted. Without doubt, one of my very favourite Guy Ritchie films and one I hope you’ll enjoy too! Here’s a very brief summary before I tell you just why I think it’s a great film.
Four young lads; Tom, Soap, Eddy and Bacon decide to buy into a high-stakes card game run by Hatchet Harry. They each chip in £25,000 and it’s up to Eddy to represent them in the game. He’s a diva at the cards and they reckon they’re onto a sure thing. Unfortunately for them, not only does Eddy lose, but he ends up in debt to Harry to the tune of half a million. Since they all put in they are all responsible for paying back the money or bad things will happen to them and Eddy’s dad, JD, will lose his bar. They only have a week and this makes them a tad desperate. Fortunately, they overhear Eddy’s neighbours, a bunch of very violent types, planning a robbery. They decide to relieve them of the score and use it to pay back Harry… but there’s more than one twist in this tale. I’ll leave it there or Harry will be sending Big Chris to sort me out.
Shot in very muted tones with an almost sepia look to the picture, it gave the film a gritty edge to it that worked pretty well. A great soundtrack also adds to the atmosphere with some very effective use of popular songs from all over the place. Great performances all round with the four leads; Jason Flemyng as Tom, Dexter Fletcher as Soap, Nick Moran as Eddy and Jason Statham as Bacon all doing particularly well. I also liked the performance of Vinnie Jones as Big Chris, he didn’t have an awful lot to do but he definitely had a presence on the screen. Also worthy of note were; P.H. Moriarty as Hatchet Harry, Steve Sweeney as Plank, Stephen Marcus as Nick the Greek, Vas Blackwood as Rory Breaker, Sting as JD and look out for a brief appearance from Rob Brydon as a rather unfortunate traffic warden.
Mad bad and highly entertaining, I really enjoyed this film. I particularly liked the fact that when things got particularly violent the camera wasn’t pointed directly at the action. We were aware of what was going on but there was no Tarantino-esq splatter-fest. This may well have been for budgetary reasons, but I’d prefer to fill in the blanks myself anyway. The plot does get a little over-complicated in places but is all neatly resolved in the end… just about. Everything from the sharp, witty dialogue to the locations was done with that kind of British style you’d never see in a Hollywood production. It always hits the mark for me!... Well worth a look.
SteelMonster’s verdict: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
My score: 8.5/10
IMDb Score: 8.2/10 (based on 223,459 votes at the time of going to press).
MetaScore: 66/100: (Based on 30 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 92/100 ‘Liked it’ (based on 275,344 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
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WARNING: STRONG LANGUAGE
Eddie: They're armed.
Soap: What was that? Armed? What do you mean armed? Armed with what?
Eddie: Err, bad breath, colourful language, feather duster... what do you think they're gonna be armed with? Guns, you tit!
Big Chris: It's been emotional.
Tom: There's no money, there's no weed. It's all been replaced by a pile of corpses.
Plank: Ah! They fucking shot me!
Dog: Well, fucking shoot 'em back!
Dean: He's got the guns. Go ahead. You get them.
Gary: Why me?
Dean: You're supposed to be the hard case.
Gary: [shrieks] You get the guns. I drive the car!
Nick the Greek: Dunno. Seems expensive.
Tom: Seems? Well, this seems to be a complete waste of my time. That, my friend, is 900 nicker in any store you're lucky enough to find one in. And you're haggling over 200 pound? What school of finance did you come from Nick? "It's a deal, it's a steal, it's the Sale of the fucking Century!" In fact, fuck it Nick, I think I'll keep it!
Nick the Greek: All right all right, keep your Alans on!
[Peels off notes from his wad]
Nick the Greek: Here's a ton.
Tom, Eddie: Jesus Christ!
Eddie: You could choke a dozen donkeys on that! And you're haggling over one hundred pound? What're you doing when you're not buying stereos Nick? Finance revolutions?
Nick the Greek: 100 pound is still 100 pound.
Tom: Not when the price is 200 pound it ain't! And certainly not when you've got Liberia's deficit in your skyrocket. Tighter than a duck's butt you are. Now, lemme feel the fibre of your fabric.