Mitchel (Colin Farrell) is dead set on never going back to prison. Sent there for assault, he has a talent for violence. Recently released he wants nothing more than to be left alone. Too bad the local crime lord Gant (Ray Winstone) wants Mitchel to work for him. Mitchel has other ideas, finding himself a handyman job to super actress Charlotte (Keira Knightley), she’s living a Howard Hughes lifestyle in her paparazzi besieged London mansion. They somehow fall in love and Mitchel is even more determined to protect what he has. Gant won’t give up as now he feels slighted, he starts taking away everything important to Mitchel.
This film looked promising early on. The reluctant and reformed thug is a good if not unoriginal place to start. Farrell is very believable and physically looks like he bulked up. The hint of grey in his hair is a good touch too. Winstone is (of course) the crime lord but his character has been seen before. Winstone and Farrell do share a nose to nose scene where the intensity was off the charts. It’s easily the best scene. Unfortunately there’s weak chemistry between Knightley and Farrell. Knightley actually looked gaunt and several of her outfits simply made her look worse. There is a standout performance from David Thewlis who plays Charlotte’s live in confidante, Jordan.
I love a good English gangster flick. Unfortunately this isn’t Layer Cake, heck it’s not even RocknRolla. The talent in this film is what keeps this film afloat; it’s certainly not the script or the direction. William Monahan has the distinction of disappointing us on both fronts. With the Oscar he’s won for The Departed screenplay, he’s been able to pull A-list talent for his directorial début. Many forget that those awards were for adapted and not original screenplay. How is that significant? The Departed is based on Hong Kong’s Infernal Affairs and without its original and brilliant plot, the Oscar winning film would not exist. It’s not to say Monahan has no talent, obviously he has, but his script is an obvious reason this film fails. The plot shifts are silly and he sabotages his own plot devices throughout the film. Essentially most of the gangster bits are good; love story bad.
When I first saw this film, I immediately wondered why it wasn’t released in North America. Big name stars, the writer of Oscar winning The Departed and London gangsters should be an easy sell… after watching, I know why.
La vida de los peces (The Life of Fish) 2010 Chile
[rating=9]9/10 Andrés (Santiago Cabrera) is a 30ish travel writer based in Berlin. He’s back in Santiago, the city of his ...