Viewed – 30 June 2012 DVD
Comedy gangster movies can be excellent when done right. See Guy Ritchie’s Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels as one fine example. Yet here there seems to be a bit too much surreal humour to completely believe in the situations, and overall it comes off as a bit absurd. Thankfully however we have a fairly decent cast of British actors to distract us.
Jonny Lee Miller (Trainspotting, Dexter) plays a wet behind the ears lad who dreams of becoming part of the most notorious gangster ‘crew’ in London, and uses his friendship with Jude Law’s mobster to worm his way in. The gang, headed by Ray Winstone’s mob boss, are a bunch of typical east end hard men, and Johnny has a lot to prove to be taken seriously as ‘one of the boys’. So it’s not long before he causes a feud between Ray’s gang and a South London gang headed by Sean Pertwee and also featuring Rhys Ifans.
This is a likable, knock-about movie with some interesting moments and plenty of personality. What I didn’t take to were the bizarre karaoke bits and Johnny Lee Miller’s to-the-camera anecdotes dressed as a circus clown (?). I can see that the director(s) were trying to be hip and cool, with some good choices of music and throwing in a few stand out sequences – most notably from Ray Winstone being Ray Winstone, and Rhys Ifans being well, a mad-bastard. But overall I felt the tone of this was not right … I couldn’t make up my mind if I was meant to find it funny or serious. So with many other, superior Brit gangster movies in mind, I’m writing this one off as a fail.
Verdict: 2 /5