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Nothugh's British Gangster Film Season 
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Post Nothugh's British Gangster Film Season
I'm aware that a number of these films are a bit shit, and that therefore there is an element of masochism about this whole shebang, but I'm going to make my way through Britain's gangster movies in the next couple of weeks, in no particular order. Anyway -

#1 The Business (2005)

Nick Love's attempts at Martin Scorsese are nowhere near as bad as you'd reasonably presume.

Long story short, Love takes a break from football hooligan masturbation and makes a film about a bunch of yuppie criminals who set up a lucrative franchise importing drugs into southern Spain before passing them back to Blighty. This film isn't that bad at all. It has Danny Dyer playing himself, only this time it works; and Tamer Hassan as his fairly charismatic underworld boss. The film deals with general themes of drug addiction, moral corruption, loyalty, and trying to stay alive in the face of Hassan's psychotic business partner, played in a grimly convincing fashion by Geoff Bell.

The project is a kind of tongue in cheek nod to the ole Scorsese Casino type flick of flashy images and era-defining music played along to protracted introductions and observations by the in-film narrator.

All-in-all, a decent effort; despite its indulgence in the usual stereotypes and formula.

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Thu Jul 11, 2013 4:22 am
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Post Re: Nothugh's British Gangster Film Season
#2 The Krays (1990)

Camp and grim at the same time - the Krays hasn't exactly aged into a cult classic. Casting Spandau Ballet may have seemed like a sharp-witted plan back in the late 80s, but now seems either odd or silly, depending on your outlook.

Not a disgraceful film, but somewhat wanting.

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Mon Jul 15, 2013 4:18 am
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Post Re: Nothugh's British Gangster Film Season
#3 Layer Cake (2004)

Of all the cheeky mockney gangsta flicks to have flooded out of Blighty in the past 15 years, Layer Cake is by far the best. That on its own might not be saying too much, but as far as this genre goes, Layer Cake really is a cut above. It's not immune from indulging in the Ritchie formula at times, but as a general overreaching principle, it better acted and written than anything the ex-Mr Madonna has ever committed to screen.

Interestingly, director Matthew Vaughan was Richie's producer on Lock Stock and Snatch, but Vaughan himself directs a film far more grown up than either of his Richie gangsta collaborations.

The formula of Layer Cake is nothing too ground-breaking - Daniel Craig plays a man who is involved in criminal underworld activities, but only in a tourist-like sense. He knows there is no dependable long-game in this world and just wants to make a few £££ before bailing the hell out of there - but somewhat predictably goes on to find that the game won't let him go so readily. Craig is excellent in the lead, and is well supported throughout.

A very good film.

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Mon Jul 15, 2013 4:30 am
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Post Re: Nothugh's British Gangster Film Season
So when are you going to see Gangster No.1?

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Mon Jul 15, 2013 6:40 am
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Post Re: Nothugh's British Gangster Film Season
Just for you, sweetheart

#4 Gangster Number 1 (2000)

The title tells you a lot, and indicates strongly what you should expect. Gangster Number 1 is a fairly dumb tale of one psychopath’s journey to the top of the local criminal-underworld fraternity. It’s a tale of shooting, stabbing, and dropping cars on the feeder-fish of the criminal underclass; which then leads to an act of betrayal on one’s boss and mentor.

The film is told as a flashback through the eyes of the semi-comic Malcolm McDowell a man whose post-Clockwork orange career has amounted to nothing more than a pub-quiz question. The unintentionally funny McDowell recounts his younger, ruthless self, played in a genuinely creepy fashion by Paul Bettany, who single-handedly keeps the film from sinking completely.

All in all, Gangster Number 1 is shallow, silly, occasionally nasty, panders to stereotypes – pretty much an era-defining British Gangster film really

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Wed Jul 17, 2013 5:23 am
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Post Re: Nothugh's British Gangster Film Season
Does In Bruges fit in here?

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Wed Jul 17, 2013 1:48 pm
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Post Re: Nothugh's British Gangster Film Season
Yeah i guess it could.

Good call.

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Wed Jul 17, 2013 3:41 pm
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Post Re: Nothugh's British Gangster Film Season
Nice thread idea. My knowledge of the British gangster film is limited pretty much to the "classics" (The Long Good Friday and Get Carter are the two that spring to mind immediately) and a small handful of less-acclaimed entries.

I saw Gangster No. 1 last year and remembering enjoying it well enough, but I'm struggling to remember anything truly memorable about it outside of Paul Bettany.

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Wed Jul 17, 2013 3:50 pm
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Post Re: Nothugh's British Gangster Film Season
#5 Lock Stock (1998)

I haven’t yet seen Rock and Rolla, so this for me is by far the best Ritchie film with the possible exception of the first Sherlock Holmes installment.

It abuses every cliché imaginable, but does so knowingly, and the plot it both complex and tight in its execution. Nearly all the actors are unknown, but I feel this actually benefits the story, as no one personality is stealing the limelight.

The direction is very stylish, and the use of soundtrack quite inspired.

Lock Stock, often in spite of itself, is a good film.

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Mon Jul 29, 2013 6:16 am
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Post Re: Nothugh's British Gangster Film Season
#6 Snatch (2000)

Snatch was made from the offcuts that were swept off the editor's floor in Lock Stock. It takes the same basic formula, and throws cash and an A-list cast at it. But to no avail. The story and the execution have none of the quaint charm of Lock Stock. It's overlong, confusing, charmless, and unfunny.

In a way it proves the how small the margins for error are in film making. Because I really liked Lock Stock, and really dislike this.

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Mon Jul 29, 2013 6:27 am
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Post Re: Nothugh's British Gangster Film Season
NotHughGrant wrote:
#6 Snatch (2000)

Snatch was made from the offcuts that were swept off the editor's floor in Lock Stock. It takes the same basic formula, and throws cash and an A-list cast at it. But to no avail. The story and the execution have none of the quaint charm of Lock Stock. It's overlong, confusing, charmless, and unfunny.

In a way it proves the how small the margins for error are in film making. Because I really liked Lock Stock, and really dislike this.


Hmmmmm maybe I'm biased because I saw Snatch first, but I think that Lock, Stock is the warmup and Snatch is the payoff.

NotHughGrant wrote:
#3 Layer Cake (2004)

Of all the cheeky mockney gangsta flicks to have flooded out of Blighty in the past 15 years, Layer Cake is by far the best. That on its own might not be saying too much, but as far as this genre goes, Layer Cake really is a cut above. It's not immune from indulging in the Ritchie formula at times, but as a general overreaching principle, it better acted and written than anything the ex-Mr Madonna has ever committed to screen.

Interestingly, director Matthew Vaughan was Richie's producer on Lock Stock and Snatch, but Vaughan himself directs a film far more grown up than either of his Richie gangsta collaborations.

The formula of Layer Cake is nothing too ground-breaking - Daniel Craig plays a man who is involved in criminal underworld activities, but only in a tourist-like sense. He knows there is no dependable long-game in this world and just wants to make a few £££ before bailing the hell out of there - but somewhat predictably goes on to find that the game won't let him go so readily. Craig is excellent in the lead, and is well supported throughout.

A very good film.


I didn't like Layer Cake much at all. How did you avoid mentioning Sienna Miller's terrible role?

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Mon Jul 29, 2013 2:21 pm
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Post Re: Nothugh's British Gangster Film Season
JamesKunz wrote:
I didn't like Layer Cake much at all. How did you avoid mentioning Sienna Miller's terrible role?

To be fair, her role in the film was very small and was in no way pivotal to the plot.

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Mon Jul 29, 2013 2:40 pm
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Post Re: Nothugh's British Gangster Film Season
Ragnarok73 wrote:
JamesKunz wrote:
I didn't like Layer Cake much at all. How did you avoid mentioning Sienna Miller's terrible role?

To be fair, her role in the film was very small and was in no way pivotal to the plot.


Yes. Which is why she stuck out so badly.

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Mon Jul 29, 2013 2:59 pm
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