Ray (Carlyle), a lapsed East End communist, has long since given up the common good for private gain. Still, even he's shocked when his brothers-in-arms turn their guns on each other after persons unknown steal the stash from their latest raid. The suspects are limited: there are five in the gang, and Ray knows at least he's staunch. After Antonia Bird's unhappy Hollywood venture, Mad Love, this heist-gone-wrong picture reclaims lost ground on home turf, and shares with Bird's BBC films Safe and Priest a determination to get in where the action is. It's muscular, raw, and aggressive. These un-English qualities make for rough edges, but also for vividly authentic popular cinema and plenty to argue about in the pub afterwards. Ronan Bennett's hard-boiled script keeps the tension simmering, the excellent Carlyle and a knockout cast somehow make you care, and there's a palpable sense of London in the dark days of winter, dog eat dog, and time running out.
Cast and crew