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Get Carter (1971)

What happens when a professional killer violates the code? Get Carter!

Directed by:

Mike Hodges

Rating: 4/10

Running Time: 106 minutes

UK Certificate: 18

On DVD

Country: Germany, United Kingdom

'Get Carter' is certainly a classic. It's just not a very good one. Met with varying degrees of apathy upon its 1971 release, it's only in more recent times that its acquired its inexplicable cult status. Personally, I think the general public got it right first time around.

If Michael Caine wasn't the accomplished actor he is, you'd suspect him of being highly wooden as he slips into the shoes of Jack Carter, the Cockney hardcase who traipses up to Newcastle to avenge the death of his murdered brother. He soon finds that would be a considerably easier task if there weren't so many people trying to “Get” him. Hence the title, I suppose.

As Carter bullies his way around Tyneside trying to make sense of how bruv snuffed it, you can't help but wonder why we should care whether he succeeds or fails. He's a crim, a hood, a bad seed, and he likes making smutty phone calls. Bizarrely, several characters refer to his apparently famous “sense of humour” as the film drones on, but let's just say he's no Bob Monkhouse.

The film marks the big screen directorial debut from Mike Hodges, who went on to make an array of cheerily-titled flicks including 'The Terminal Man', 'A Prayer for the Dying', 'Dandelion Dead' and 'I'll Sleep When I'm Dead'. We could probably have him down as a glass-is-half-empty sort of fellow if it wasn't for the fact that he also made 'Flash Gordon'.

'Get Carter' is extremely well shot, and drags you right into Carter's seedy world. Unfortunately, it's a world of badly-written dialogue, featureless acting and comically bad eroticism, and I for one was relieved to finally climb out of the other side. Suffice to say, I won't be going back.

It's Got: Caine standing bum-naked at the front door with a loaded shotgun (ooh-er missus!!).

It Needs: A few jokes from Carter. Oh, come on, show us this legendary sense of humour.

DVD Extras Cast and crew details (yawn), directors commentary, some trailers, and a music-only version of the film (which Im sure looooaaaaadddds of people will watch). DVD Extras Rating: 4/10

Alternatives:

Get Carter (2000), Long Good Friday, Payback

Summary

Caine's talents are wasted in this over-rated underworld drivel.

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