Who lit the fuse that tore Harolds world apart?
Running Time: 114 minutes
UK Certificate: 18
Country: United Kingdom
Try sitting through The Long Good Friday without coming out of the other side talking like a Cockney gangster. It cant be done. Its like watching Crocodile Dundee without wanting to take up didgeridoo lessons, Jaws without lifting your feet up onto the sofa, or The Hours without falling into a deep, deep slumber. Bob Hoskins, in the role that made him a star, stars as stubby crime lord Harold, a man who loves his home city of London almost as much as he loves rhyming slang, xenophobia and bludgeoning his enemies to death. For ten years hes kept the threat of a gang war at bay, but it looks like hes in a spot of soapy bubble when some less-than-diamond geezers start blowing up his pubs and nailing his henchmen to various floors. Worse still is that its all happening at the same time as hes trying to sweet-talk some visiting Mafia swellguys into joining him on his latest business venture (and if it doesnt involve some poor sucker waking up face-down in the Thames at one point or another, then Ill be a monkeys uncle). The flick does contain a few instances of graphic violence, though its not really as shocking as its often made out to be. Its the performance of Hoskins that really makes this film what it is a tough, gritty, and surprisingly convincing slice of life in the underworld of early-80s Thatcherite Britain. Look out for Helen Mirren delivering a sturdy performance as Victoria, Harolds moll-with-a-mind. And anyone even remotely familiar with UK pop culture can have a great time spotting the other familiar faces in the supporting cast my personal faves are Derek Thompson (Charlie from Casualty), Karl Howman (Jacko from Brush Strokes) and a non-speaking Pierce Brosnan (cant remember what hes been in or who hes played, but he definitely looks familiar).
It's Got: Claret
It Needs: Apples and pears.
DVD Extras Some original trailers, audio commentary from director John Mackenzie, interviews with Mackenzie and Hoskins, castographies (I just made that word up), and some film notes. DVD Extras Rating: 7/10
Engrossing and influential, this laid the groundwork for every British gangster-flick that followed. Where would Guy Ritchie be without stuff like this?