London Boulevard (Review + Free Movie)

(10/21/11 (VOD); 11/11/11; Crime Drama)
Colin Farrell, Keira Knightley, Ray Winstone, David Thewlis, Anna Friel, Stephen Graham, Ben Chaplin
SCR: William Monahan, Based on the novel by Ken Bruen
DIR: William Monahan
MPAA: R for strong violence, pervasive language, some nudity and drug use.
1 hour 38 mins

British crime drama about a criminal (Farrell) who gets released from prison and promptly finds himself dragged back into trouble. He attempts the straight-and-narrow by taking a gig protecting a reclusive movie star (Knightly) from the paparazzi, but finds himself in the revenge business when a dear associate is murdered. All the while, an arrogant gangster (Winstone) attempts to press him into service.

Oscar-winning writer Monahan (The Departed, Edge of Darkness), stepping up to direct his first film, handles the transitions between the terse crime tale and its more thoughtful relationship subplot well, investing in the human moments that make characters memorable without resorting to broad strokes.

Farrell is believably tough but you never doubt he’s only tough because he has to be. Thewlis is a hoot as Knightley’s fey business manager, a guy with secrets of his own. Friel is Farrell’s dotty sister and she’s a live wire; and Winstone (always great) is a formidable badass, all pomp and gravitas. The scenes between him and Farrell are electric.

Given Monahan’s resume, there are themes that are recurrent about the nature of crime and what some people are inherently capable of, when pushed. In the case of Edge of Darkness and this film, the tragic protagonists are likable because we don’t want them to go there.

But of course they will. They can’t help themselves. (GK Films/IFC)



Author: Dennis Willis

Dennis Willis is an award-winning producer, TV host, producer, director, editor (he preferred Avid until a torrid affair with Adobe Premiere, and the rest is history), author and film critic (print and radio). Dennis produced and hosted the TV programs Reel Life, FilmTrip, Soundwaves (1983-2008) and produces the annual Soundwaves Xmas program. He is currently the film critic on KGO Radio in San Francisco, and a member of both the San Francisco Film Critics Circle and the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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