4.5 out of 10
Release Date: 26th November 2010
Director: William Monaghan
Cast: Colin Farrell, Keira Knightley, David Thewlis, Anna Friel, Ben Chaplin, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Stephen Graham, Ophelia Lovibond, Matt King with Eddie Marsan and Ray Winstone
Writer: Ken Bruen
Trailer: LONDON BOULEVARD
Packed to the gunnels with plot, London Boulevard has too much going on. A star-filled calzione of a movie, William Monaghan’s glossy run through the seemier side of London’s night life comes across as a confused mess. Why this got the big budget treatment and the dozen other UK gangster movies like it never is probably down to contacts and agents. It’s a fickle old world the film industry. London Boulevard offers nothing plot-wise that The Big I Am, Kill List, The Jack Trilogy or Bonded By Blood don’t have. Just so you know. Casting such a movie with expensive actors is certainly a novelty but does it make it anymore watchable? Yes and no.
As I’ve said London Boulevard has more plot than three films, so some strands get short changed when trying to crunch them into a standard 90 minutes. Particularly the central plot concerning a ‘one-time bad boy trying to go straight’ who lands a jobs as bodyguard for a shut-away actress (KEIRA KNIGHTLEY – ATONEMENT). At the same time the sad bad boy (COLIN FARRELL – IN BRUGES) is getting dragged back into the game by his unpredictable and dangerous sister (ANNA FRIEL – BROOKSIDE) and the current Mr Big (RAY WINSTONE – ELFIE HOPKINS), who needs a good lieutenant. Bent cops, dodgy drugs, racist killings, Ben Chaplin (THE THIN RED LINE), credit card fraud and invasive paparazzi all figure to a massive extent. All these ingredients are swirled around for an hour and a half to well-acted but pointless effect. Colin Farrell is one of my favourite Hollywood actors because he avoids obvious casting, but along with the rest of the cast, I think their well-connected director / writer sold them a three hour epic that got chopped in the mix. Eddie Marsan‘s (I, ANNA) bent copper seems to have had the worst of the expurgation. Keira Knightley is well cast but the obvious conclusion to their situation seems rushed along in order to usher in the next morsel of plot. Colin Farrell is in almost every scene, so he’s called upon to emotionally fluctuate less than naturally as the movie progresses. The only person to truly come out smelling of roses is a welcome character turn by David Thewlis (THE BIG LEBOWSKI), who I’ve missed in British films. He plays a failed actor who shares Keira Knightley‘s house, to keep her from cracking from loneliness. Ray Winstone is great but conforms to type as the current king of the underworld. The cinematography and the production values are all top of the line here. No expense has been spared on the cars and neon soaked vistas on offer.
London Boulevard is a strange, lifeless beast that may have benefitted from fewer story lines and characters. This would have given the initially intriguing central story dynamic a chance to breathe. Both Colin Farrell and Keira Knightley are well cast, but they are lost in the mix. I think the film was shortened down from a much longer movie and what we’ve been left with are the basics. Disappointing but not tragic.
4.5 out of 10 – An uninvolving and expensive version of just about every other London set gangster movie you’ve ever seen.
READ JOE PESCI II’s counter review BELOW!!!
WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT PERSON IN BEFORE?
- Colin Farrell: The Beguiled, Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, The Lobster, Solace, Miss Julie (2015), True Detective (TV), A Winter’s Tale, Saving Mr Banks, Dead Man Down, Seven Psychopaths, Total Recall (2012), Fright Night (2011), Horrible Bosses, The Way Back, Ondine, The Imaginarium Of Dr Parnassus, In Bruges, Crazy Heart, Cassandra’s Dream, Miami Vice Movie, The New World, Intermission, Alexander, S.W.A.T., Veronica Guerin, Phone Booth, Daredevil, Minority Report, The Recruit, Hart’s War, Tigerland, The War Zone
- Keira Knightley: Collateral Beauty, Say When, Everest, The Imitation Game, Laggies, Can a Song Save Your Life?, Jack Ryan – Shadow Recruit, Anna Karenina (2012), Seeking a Friend For The End Of The World, A Dangerous Method, Last Night, Never Let Me Go, The Duchess, The End Of Love, Silk, Atonement, Pirates Of The Caribbean 1-3, Domino, Pride & Prejudice (2005), The Jacket, King Arthur (2004), Love Actually, Pure, Thunderpants, Bend It Like Beckham, The Hole (2001), Star Wars- The Phantom Menace, Innocent Lies
- David Thewlis: Regression, Macbeth (2015), Legend (2015), Queen & Country, The Theory of Everything, Zero Theorem, The Fifth Estate, Red 2, War Horse, The Lady (2012), Anonymous, Harry Potter 3, 6, 7 & 8, The Boy In Striped Pyjamas, Mr Nice, The Omen (2006), Basic Instinct 2, The New World, Kingdom Of Heaven, Gangster No.1, Whatever Happened To Harold Smith?, Besieged, The Big Lebowski, Divorcing Jack, Seven Days In Tibet, The Island Of Dr Moreau, Total Eclipse, James and The Giant Peach (voice), Restoration, Black Beauty (1994), Naked, The Trial (1993), Afraid Of The Dark, Life Is Sweet, Resurrected, Vroom
- Anna Friel: Good People, The Look of Love, Limitless, Land Of The Lost, Goal II, Goal, Me Without You, Mad Cows, Rogue Trader, Land Girls, Brookside (TV)
- Ben Chaplin: War Book, Snowden, Cinderella (2015), Twixt, Dorian Gray, Chromophobia, Birthday Girl, Murder By Numbers, The Truth About Cats and Dogs, The Thin Red Line, Washington Square, Lost Souls, Feast Of July, Game On (TV), The Remains Of The Day
- Sanjeev Bhaskar: Absolutely Anything, Zero Theorem, It’s a Wonderful Afterlife, The Kumars At No.42 (TV), Anita and Me, Goodness Gracious Me (TV)
- Stephen Graham: Pirates of the Caribbean 5, Hyena, Boardwalk Empire (TV), Get Santa, Blood (2013), Best Laid Plans (2012), This Is England, This Is England 86, This Is England 88, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Season Of The Witch, Public Enemies, Pirates of the Caribbean 4, Texas Killing Fields, Doghouse, Awaydays, The Damned Utd, Inkheart, Goal, Snatch, Coronation Street (TV), Downtime
- Ophelia Lovibond: Man Up, 8 Minutes Idle, Guardians of the Galaxy, Turnout, 4-3-2-1, Mr Popper’s Penguins, Chatroom, Nowhere Boy
- Matt King: Malice In Wonderland, Made In Dagenham, Bronson, Peep Show (TV)
- Eddie Marsan: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (TV), X+Y, Still Life, God’s Pocket, Filth, The World’s End, I Anna, Tyrannosaur, Snow White & The Huntsman, Sherlock Holmes 1 & 2, War Horse, Junkhearts, The Disappearance Of Alice Creed, Heartless, Faintheart, Hancock, Happy Go Lucky, Grown Your Own, Miami Vice Movie, 21 Grams, The Illusionist (2007), Mission Impossible III, The New World, Pierrepoint, Vera Drake, Gangster No.1, Gangs Of New York, The Bunker, Janice Beard 45wpm
- Ray Winstone: Sabini, Jawbone, Point Break (2015), The Legend of Barney Thompson, The Gunman, Noah, The Lords of London, Ashes, The Hot Potato, The Sweeney Movie, Snow White & The Huntsman, Elfie Hopkins, Hugo, The Devil’s Tomb, Rango (voice), Fathers Of Girls, Tracker, Sex & Drugs & Rock-N-Roll, 44 Inch Chest, Edge Of Darkness, Indiana Jones & The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skulls, Fool’s Gold, Breaking and Entering, The Departed, Cold Mountain, Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion The Witch & The Wardrobe (voice), The Proposition, King Arthur (2004), Ripley’s Game, The Martins, Last Orders, Sexy Beast, There’s Only One Jimmy Grimble, Nil By Mouth, Love Honour and Obey, Fanny and Elvis, Final Cut, Martha – Meet Daniel Luke and Laurence, Face, Ladybird Ladybird, Tank Malling, Quadrophenia, Scum, Robin Of Sherwood (TV)