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When I first saw the above trailer, I was fairly excited. I have enjoyed a number of British gangster films. “Layer Cake”, “Snatch”, and “In Bruges” are the first few that come to mind, but there have been plenty of others. I was hoping to get the same type of dish from “London Boulevard”. A little bit of dark humor. A whole lot of brutal violence. And a likable anti-hero. In the end, I was left a little disappointed.
“London Boulevard” is about Mitchel just getting out of prison and never wanting to have to go back. Mitchel takes a job as security for a celebrity who has recently “gone a little Howard Hughes”. Of course getting out of the “business” is never that easy, and Mitchel is soon number one on a local gangster’s list to join his firm. Even though Mitchel wants no part of it, the mob will kill everyone and anyone until he joins.
I have to say that the cast is great. I love the resurgence of Colin Farrell. I love his work in “In Bruges”, “The Way Back”, and even “Horrible Bosses”. Though I think that “Fright Night” was a step in the wrong direction, I am hoping that he can make a big splash with this summer’s “Total Recall”. I have never really been all that impresses with Keira Knightley. While she does fine work here, it does not shine in any way. I am excited to check her out next week when “A Dangerous Method” hits DVD because I have heard great things about her in that. Ray Winstone, as always, is great playing the head gangster. He makes me believe he would shoot you in a second for no apparent reason.
My problem with the film is just that it feels so rushed. Knightley falling for Farrell just all of a sudden happens one day even though we do not see much of her in the film. Farrell is enraged by the death of a homeless man within the first twenty minutes of the film even though we see the homeless man in like two shots. Of course, this all makes sense when the credits come up at the conclusion of the film, and I see “Based on the novel by…”. Of course there have been some great novel to film adaptations, I think most everyone can agree that the movie experience is much better having read the book before. This way you are more familiar with all the characters.
While “London Boulevard” will not rank on the top of my list of British gangster films, it certainly is not terrible. It has a great cast with good acting, a nice soundtrack, and a solid (but rushed) story. If you are a fan of the genre, I think it is certainly worth checking out on Redbox. There are worst ways to spend $1.27. And there are certainly worse films that you could sit and watch.