Nobody told me the Brits knew how to make a crime picture. I mean I know the Limey is a limey and all but that one is American made on American soil. Here’s one those Brits can be proud of in my opinion.
People probaly compare this to Pulp Fiction and what not and I do believe it’s somewhere up there. It uses an even greater mastery of cinematismic languaging with maybe a little less substance as far as most people are concerned but then what the hell do those bitches know. Anyway it’s a fun as hell movie about four Londonese dudes about 30 years old each who invest in a big card game. They come out in the red for $500,000 and have one week to pay it back if they don’t want to start losing fingers. They owe the money to a guy named Harry the Hatchet and this motherfucker means business so they will stop at nothing to get the money they need. What follows is a complex game between these four kids, two other gangs, a house of pot dealers, and Harry the Hatchets horrific henchmen.
The henchmen are probaly my favorite characters in this picture. These guys are very authentic, ugly motherfuckers who look like they’d chew you through to the marrow if they needed a transplant. One of them Big Chris is cool because he’s bad as hell, but he brings his little son with him on all his jobs. See what did I tell you in that Hard Boiled review? Big Chris and Little Chris are more proof for my Theory of Badass Juxtapositionship. But my favorite one in this movie is The Baptist, given that name for drowning motherfuckers and this dude is played by a famous bare knuckle boxer who looks exactly like Tor Johnson from the old horror pictures.
This guy who made this is named Guy Ritchie and he’s what you call a first time director according to the DVD. But he’s one of these slick ass young guys, techniquewise, like maybe he grew up in the same neighborhood as David Fincher, Run Lola Run and some of these motherfuckers. He’s not a Poet like Peckinpah but he is a born cinematist, I guess more along the lines of what the magazines call a wonderkind or an infant terrible. What I mean is there is all kinds of slow motion, freeze fame, whooshing camera funky music whiz bang look at me mom type of shenanigans but in a way that seduces and intoxicates you instead of just pissing you off like Armageddon. It is fun and it is beautiful to look at and if I might add the photographic worksmanship is exquisite. You know how Payback is blue? Well this one is brown and there is alot of texture in the walls and man does it look sweet on a DVD. In my opinion.
So it’s good characters and slick direction but what I really loved about this deal is the philosophy. You see I feel that this story very much represents the world of crime as I see it and I feel like kind of a schmuck laying it down right here because I wanted to save this for my memoirs but what the hell man you guys are my buds. You see in crime circles I was well known for my opinion that if you go down, you go down for a reason. And that reason is of course, The Universe.
You see, there are two sides to some things, the good and the evil, the yin and the yang, the salt and the pepper, fire and ice etc. And there are the cops and the robbers.
But do you think the Universe wants the cops to be the sole representatives of the good side? HELL NO! They’re cops for christ sakes! Nobody wants them on their side especially a supreme power of eternal existence such as, for example, what I have labelled for these purposes The Universe.
Therefore and pursuantly, heretofore there are many fucked up things that happen to a criminally inclined individual such as myself and my colleagues whilst mid-crime. For example have you ever gone to rob a bank, your get away vehicle is a good car, you’ve had it for a long time but not too long, and you’ve never had a problem with it at all in the past, even took her in for a tuneup recently and everything checked out – but the second you got the boys in blue on your tail it starts sputtering or the transmission goes out or the god damned engine won’t turn over?
That is the Universe throwing shit at you and that is what crime is all about and if you plan to make a career at a criminal you have to be prescient of that fact that it is not just you against the pigs, it is you against the pigs AND THE UNIVERSE. And in my opinion only once you admit that scientific philosophical fact to yourself are you ever going to be able to dodge the shit that She throws at you and make it through with relatively few scratches.
That reality is sort of what this picture is about because this is a relatively straightforward job that goes very fucking sour in a very fucking entertaining way in my opinion. I suppose that could describe many crime pictures, things always go wrong, but this one is more extreme and heightened and over the top and coincidental. This is a world of weird coincidences and mistaken identities and stupid mistakes that chain reaction and draw together various factions and set them upon each other and it gets very complicated and very funny and very bloody. It is like the old playing one side against the other business except it is not some con man or lone drifter doing this, it is Her. The Universe. (For these purposes.)
Maybe it’s a good thing I was inside when this came out. It is nice to watch it on DVD cause to be honest I had to rewind it quite a few times and even put the subtitles on at one point because lets face it these English sure talk English funny. And there are a lot of characters to keep track of but it is worth it I recommend this picture thank you very much for your time signed your friend vern.
VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.