Let Him Have It
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Time Out saysNearly 40 years after his execution, the case of Derek Bentley - backward, epileptic, and hanged for a shooting committed by someone else - looks unlikely to be shut away in the drawer of history. Medak's first film since The Krays shares a concern for post-war London low-life, justice, and - on the downside - a preoccupation with early yoof-culture and a too gangsterish treatment of sordid crimes. On November 2, 1952, Bentley and his under-age mentor in criminality, Chris Craig, were caught on the roof of a Croydon warehouse by police, one of whom was fatally shot by 16-year-old Craig after Bentley had uttered the ambiguous words, 'Let him have it, Chris.' Medak's film is an angry story told with great force by very fine actors: notably, Courtenay as Bentley's decently impotent dad, Atkins as his tortured mother, Reynolds as the yobbish Craig, and Eccleston's doomed Derek, rising manfully to a climax that will leave only the heartless without need of a hanky.