4 out of 10
Release Date: 14th July 2000
Director: Terry Winsor
Cast: Sean Bean, Charlie Creed-Miles, Alex Kingston, Tom Wilkinson, Terence Rigby, Holly Davidson, Michael McKell, Gary Love with Billy Murray and Larry Lamb
Writer: Terry Winsor
Trailer: ESSEX BOYS
Essex Boys was the first film to tackle the now legendary Rettendon Murders. It takes a fast and loose largely fictional approach, with the makers only going as far as to say that this film is inspired by the real life events. It also happens to be the fourth film I’ve seen in a twelve month period based on the same subject. Sadly, the best by a very long has turned out to be the one with the silliest wigs, Rise Of The Footsoldier. But first is forever.
Essex Boys concentrates on Billy Whizz’s story (based on Darren Nicholls) played by Charlie Creed-Miles (HARRY BROWN) and his association with Sean Bean (THE AGE OF HEROES) (based on Pat Tate), Larry Lamb (BUSTER) (based on Tony Tucker) and Michael McKell (OUTPOST 3) (based on Craig Rolfe) all given fictional names that I can’t be bothered to look up. This version of Pat Tate has just gotten out of jail to find out that his old co-horts are now swanning around in big cars and living in mansions. In order to get square he takes over the doors of the local Southend clubs. A bad batch of drugs leading to a high profile death supplied to them by Tom Wilkinson‘s (RUSH HOUR) Mickey Steele-a-like leads to toys being thrown out of the pram and more death. Namely ones situated in a particular 4×4.
The main difference in Essex Boys to the other three is that Sean Bean‘s wife, played by Alex Kingston (ER), is a major player and the ambitious brains behind much of the shenanigans. For a gangster film this was quite unique (with the exception of The Krays) but in recent films such as Animal Kingdom and Down Terrace they have demonstrated that women are largely the backbone and steel in crime families. Alex Kingston‘s deviousness and eye on the prize does single Essex Boys out from the pack though. It’s a shame the rest of the film is such a trudge. There’s little to fault with the acting, and another great plus is some great cinematography, elevating this above your average Granada TV one off.
Maybe it’s because this is the fourth film about the same subject I’ve sat down to watch in a relatively short period that I feel so jaded and blah-blah. As a stand alone, it’s a competent if not terribly exciting gangster movie with a committed cast. Measured up to the other three Essex Boys movies this takes the silver medal after the, now,classic Rise Of The Footsoldier. It also has the least silliest wigs. It’s better scripted but the least factual of the four. Sadly, I came to this one too late so my view point is too skewed to look at this in the plain light of day, much like any new versions based on the same tedious subject. I really really hope that Fall Of The Essex Boys is the last one. It’s certainly the last one I’ll watch.
4 out of 10 – Reasonable but pointlessly free and loose with the facts.
WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?
- Sean Bean: The Martian, Pixels, Jupiter Ascending, Percy Jackson 2, Silent Hill 2, Mirror Mirror, Cleanskin, Game Of Thrones (TV), The Age Of Heroes, Deathrace 2, Black Death, Percy Jackson, Far North, Outlaw, The Hitcher (2007), Silent Hill, Flight Plan, North Country, The Island, The Dark, National Treasure, Troy, Lord Of The Rings- Fellowship Of The Ring, Equilibrium, Don’t Say a Word, Ronin, Anna Karenina (1997), When Saturday Comes, James Bond- Goldeneye, Black Beauty (1994), Shopping, Sharpe (TV), Patriot Games, The Field, War Requiem, Stormy Monday, Caravaggio
- Charlie Creed-Miles: Peaky Blinders (TV), Wild Bill (2012), Hereafter, Harry Brown, Nil By Mouth, The Fifth Element, The Young Poisoner’s Handbook, Press Gang (TV)
- Alex Kingston: Dr Who (TV), Like Crazy, Alpha Dog, Moll Flanders (TV), ER (TV)
- Tom Wilkinson: Bone In The Throat, Good People, Unfinished Business, Felony, Belle, Grand Budapest Hotel, The Lone Ranger (2013), Mission Impossible 4, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Burke & Hare, The Green Hornet, The Debt, The Ghost, 44 Inch Chest, Duplicity, Valkyrie, Rock-N-Rolla, Michael Clayton, Cassandra’s Dream, The Last Kiss, Seperate Lies, The Exorcism Of Emily Rose, Batman Begins, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Girl With a Pearl Earring, Before You Go, The Importance Of Being Earnest (2002), In The Bedroom, Black Knight, Another Life, Essex Boys, The Patriot, Ride With The Devil, Shakespeare In Love, Rush Hour, The Governess, Oscar & Lucinda, Wilde, The Full Monty, Smilla’s Feeling For Snow, The Ghost and The Darkness, Sense and Sensibility, Martin Chuzzlewit (TV), Priest (1994), A Business Affair, Paper Mask
- Terence Rigby: Mona Lisa Smile, Simon Magus, Plunkett and Macleane, Elizabeth I, James Bond- Tomorrow Never Dies, Funny Bones, The Young Americans, Scandal, Get Carter (1971)
- Holly Davidson: Casualty (TV), The Bill (TV), Final Cut, Food Of Love
- Michael McKell: Outpost 3, Emmerdale (TV), Freight, Doctors (TV)
- Gary Love: Stoned, Soldier Soldier (TV), The Krays, Grange Hill (TV)
- Billy Murray: What’s The Score?, The Disappearance of Lenka Wood, We Still Steal The Old Way, Essex Boys Retribution, One In The Chamber, Rise and Fall Of a White Collar Hooligan, Airborne (2012), Strippers Vs. Werewolves, Stalker (2011), Freight, Devil’s Playground, Dead Cert, Just For The Record, Doghouse, Rise Of The Footsoldier, Rollin With The Nines, Hell To Pay, Eastenders (TV), The Bill (TV), McVicar
- Larry Lamb: Meet Pursuit Delange, Gavin and Stacey (TV), Eastenders (TV), Blood- The Last Vampire, The Bill (TV), Buster