Fresh out of prison, Mitchel wants nothing to do with crime but accepts a kip from Billy, a marginal grafter, and accompanies Billy on rent collection trips. He’s also old school, wanting revenge on two youths for assaulting a mendicant he’s befriended. He’s got a strung-out sister to protect, and he’s offered a job protecting a famous actress from paparazzi. The plot lines join when Michael finds himself attracted to the actress and Billy’s Mob boss, Gant, finds ways to force Michael work for him. He also warns Michael off revenge against the assailants of his friend. What are Michael’s options: is there any way to avoid Gant, protect his sister, and find a path to love?
User Reviews: I remember when this came out it didn’t make any big ripples in the pool of critical acclaim. Just another British gangster movie was the vibe I got from various sources. Even so, when it recently aired on TV I decided to give it a look. I must admit I was pleasantly surprised to find a very understated, but at the same time, quite violent film that I quite enjoyed. It does have its faults though; I’ll get to them after this very brief summary.
When Mitchel is released from prison having done a three year stretch for an assault he finds it all too easy to slip into his old ways. An old friend, Billy Norton, sets him up with somewhere to live and takes him out collecting protection money in the high rise flats. It’s not what Mitchel wants though and he is tempted with an offer of a job looking after reclusive actress, Charlotte. Her assistant (for want of a better word) Jordan shows him the ropes but he is always being dragged back into the world he is trying to escape. A big crime boss, Gant, wants him to steal from Charlotte, but he has become very attached to her. Can Mitchel get away from the life that sent him to jail or will he be sucked back into that life to protect what he holds dear? There is much more to it than that but the Spoiler Police have threatened to take away my PC if I say any more.
A very well made film with some interesting performances. I thought Colin Farrell did a decent job as Mitchel, although I did find his English accent a bit odd. Keira Knightley also put in a decent turn as the slightly paranoid Charlotte. David Thewlis as Jordan and Anna Friel as Briony (Mitchel’s sister) were excellent. Finally, Ben Chaplin as Billy Norton and (of course), Ray Winstone as Gant both did excellent work also.
I found the film quite confusing at first, there were many threads that started and didn’t really seem to go anywhere. Once the Mitchel/Charlotte storyline gets established though, it does become more coherent. As I said at the beginning, it’s quite violent and so maybe not one for the more squeamish. Rather a lot of time is spent on establishing Mitchel as a gangster and not enough on his blossoming romance with Charlotte. This meant that I ended up not really convinced by their relationship in the end and so it didn’t quite work (for me). It is still worth a watch though and I’d still deem it Recommended (just).
My score: 7.1/10 IMDb Score: 6.3/10 (based on 13,450 votes at the time of going to press).