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Worth A Look: 33.33%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 0%

1 review, 15 user ratings

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Long Good Friday, The
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by punkass

"Classic Brit Gangster Flick, well worth a look."
4 stars

Due to the large amount of crap Britain is currently churning out, it's nice to look back to a time when we were capable of shooting something ground-breaking. 'The Long Good Friday' is dark and disturbing, but most importantly realistic, something today's directors have long forgotten about.

Focusing on forty-eight hours in the life of Harold Shand, London crime boss and all round cockney geezer (portrayed perfectly by Hoskins, in a role he was born to play), this is a study of what happens to a violent man when his seemingly perfect life starts unraveling. After a spate of attacks on Good Friday, when Shand is trying to get the Mafia to invest in his grand ideas for London's Docklands, he has to work out who is trying to take him down and why, before the Mafia's representatives get suspicious and leave.

The story isn't twist filled or overly complicated, but focuses rather on Shand's attempts to come to deal with what's happening. We have some fair idea's about what's going on, but there is quite some suspense in how things are going to turn out. Loyalties are questioned, as is Shand's position as the biggest man on the London scene.

Where the film really succeeds is its realism. Not only does Hoskin excel (this film was the first that really brought him to attention) but Mirren continues to prove she has flair and versatility. The film also features a fresh faced Pierce Brosnan in his first ever outing on film. Yet it is not only the acting which is realistic, but the setting and atmosphere. Reflecting the absence of guns in most of the British underworld, and with all the Cockneys actually sounding like they were born within hearing of Bow's Bells, you get transported into their world. And what a grimey, misogynistic, racist world it is. By not glamourising this decidedly nasty side of British life during the seventies, you get to see a lot of what things were really like. Whilst nowadays we are constantly reminded how much the Kray's loved their mothers, this film reminds you that they and their ilk were murdering, torturing, bigoted scum. No amount of cheerful cockneyisms can cover the fact that at heart, Shand is a rotten man.

Congratulations are due for putting up a guide to Cockney slang at the beginning of the film, rather than having to rely on the awkward explaining of every second sentence that mired recent efforts such as The Limey.

All in all, MacKenzie has crafted a well made piece. This was always going to be the film he was remembered for, and his descent into TV hell hasn't exactly been surprising. Yet here everything gels, from the tense, almost wordless introduction to the final, fantastic minutes, this is a confident vision.

Whilst there are certainly faults, mainly in the over simple story, the tension, realism and acting often make up for this. If only more of todays British Directors had seen this and 'Get Carter' rather than trying to knock off poor 'Lock, Stock...' rip-offs.

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originally posted: 06/08/00 02:44:58
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User Comments

6/22/07 Ted Newton Amazing British gangster film. 5 stars
10/28/06 Josh Racine Fantastic British gangster movie. 5 stars
2/19/06 jeanne The last few minutes of Bob's face belong on a continuous loop in every acting class. 5 stars
11/29/04 DM I've seen Hoskins in so many American roles I almost forgot he's British 5 stars
5/23/03 Mr. Hat (I'm Back, Mo'Fos!) Hoskins, Brosnan, & pre-Ritchie Ford & Moriarty are great. Strong directing from MacKenzie. 5 stars
1/28/03 The Aussie Film Reviewer Dark and disturbing, great flick. 4 stars
8/27/02 Andy Killick Raspberry ripple indeed! 5 stars
4/28/02 Mike Corsano One of the best gangster films ever 5 stars
3/11/02 Mr. Gore Gritty, true-to-life depiction of the crime world 5 stars
1/11/02 Mick Roberts "Mafia (films)! I've shit 'em" 5 stars
11/14/01 Hamish Anderson Superb film 5 stars
8/28/01 Ælthric Gimblebrox "Bit more than a fucking hot dog wouldn't you say?" 5 stars
12/26/00 dan bash almost as good as godfather 5 stars
6/27/00 Tony Ward AWESOME 5 stars
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  02-Apr-1982 (R)
  DVD: 01-Feb-2011



Directed by
  John Mackenzie

Written by
  Barrie Keeffe

  Bob Hoskins
  Helen Mirren
  Dave King
  Bryan Marshall
  Derek Thompson
  Paul Freeman

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