London Boulevard (18)

Film

Gangster films

LB-11626.jpg_cmyk.jpg

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>1</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>2</span>/5
Rate this
 

Time Out says

Posted: Wed Nov 24 2010

‘London Boulevard’ is the directing debut of William Monahan, who wrote Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Departed’ and Ridley Scott’s ‘Body of Lies’ and here adapts Irish writer Ken Bruen’s novel about an ex-con in London who, through a twist of fate, becomes the bodyguard of a reclusive, nervy actress while trying to keep himself on the straight and narrow. Bruen’s book was a loose spin on Billy Wilder’s Hollywood tale ‘Sunset Boulevard’, hence the film’s odd name and why you won’t find London Boulevard on the Northern Line or indeed anywhere else on the Tube map.

A man of few friends and fewer words, handy with his fists and a weapon but kind to tramps, Mitchell (Colin Farrell) walks out of Pentonville after serving a short stretch for GBH and soon his old world starts beckoning him. Livewire pal Billy (an awkward, miscast Ben Chaplin) ropes Mitchell into collecting debts, while smart-suited, quietly psychotic kingpin Gant (Ray Winstone, of course) plans even bigger things for him.

Mitchell, meanwhile, wants out of the criminal life, not least because he’s been reading the poet Rilke in jail, and accepts a job offer to look after Charlotte (Keira Knightley), a hounded, lonely actress whose picture appears on billboards across town and whose feckless husband has disappeared to Spain. Charlotte’s only company is a thespian-cum-recovering junkie (David Thewlis, channelling Withnail), who acts as her gatekeeper, and the paparazzi who hover outside her Holland Park home day and night.

Monahan draws on this big-name cast and employs superior talent behind the camera such as cinematographer Chris Menges (‘The Reader’, ‘Notes on a Scandal’) – but still manages to serve up a tired, lifeless film which fails to realise either the style or sexiness it craves and which lacks any real sense of energy or momentum in its plotting. Although the film is contemporary, Monahan aims for a 1960s vibe, with vague nods to ‘Performance’ in its crim-boho crossover, period songs on the soundtrack, including Bob Dylan and The Yardbirds, and a scene in which Farrell, in shirt and tie, drives an open-top classic car across Waterloo Bridge.

Yet such stylings feel like add-ons to a by-numbers, staccato story. Monahan wheels out every Brit-gangster cliché in the book – Winstone as a secretly gay, bookish hard man with a reserve of childhood trauma; Eddie Marsan as a cop stuck in the 1970s; Farrell as a criminal who can’t escape his past; and Chaplin as the hothead who’s got it coming. The film’s weakest element is the romance between Mitchell and Charlotte, which emerges from nowhere and is one of the dampest screen liasons in a long while. It doesn’t help that Farrell is handicapped not only with a character who doesn’t do emotions, but with his obvious discomfort at trying – and failing – to pull off a South London accent. Knightley, in turn, doesn’t have much to do but look harried, cross her arms a lot and, as expected, pout.

Only the most forgiving fans of London crime movies will find much to enjoy beyond Menges’s nicely moody shots of London and a few amusing side players, and even Knightley’s loyal fans might tire after a few scenes of her faux-slobbish act as a celebrity in hiding. Husband-and-wife actors Thewlis and Anna Friel are respectively wasted (in both senses) as Charlotte’s sole confidante and Mitchell’s wayward sister, but each must have had a word in the other’s ear as they play their roles for laughs and lighten their scenes by plumping for caricature.

You start off strolling lazily down ‘London Boulevard’, but after 104 minutes, you’re on your hands and knees begging for a passing cab to take you anywhere but this.
0

Reviews

Add +

Release details

Rated:

18

UK release:

Fri Oct 15, 2010

Duration:

103 mins

Users say

0
<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

3.5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:4
  • 4 star:3
  • 3 star:5
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|29
1 person listening
Kathleen

I agree with Mika. There were too many undeveloped plots... it just seemed unfinished. I do disagree with it being boring. I quite liked it. I was just disappointed in the incompleteness of it.

John Cooper

Dave Calhoun writes a lengthy review here in an attempt to justify his one-star rating. But the reality is that with this fiilm the whole is more enjoyable than the sum of its parts . . .. Farrell, Knightly, Winstone and Thewlis have all been in better films, but they still give good value in this moody gangster thriller . .. . . There's a terrific scene in a posh restaurant where Farrell's character spells out why he could not possibly entertain a liaison with the Winstone's ruthless gangland overlord .. . . .Unfortunately the film tries to handle too many themes and falls between several stools . .. enabling critics to compare the film pejoratively with iconic films such as Performance and Layer Cake. Verdict: Flawed . . - but worth seeing.

varun kapoor

I think the movie was pretty good. The soundtracks were awesome. Once you understand the english accents and get t know the whole movie its a full entertainment package. This was one of those flicks like layer cake, lock stock and smoking barrels. In fact it was a perfect london type of movie, if you know what I mean. I recommend it and don not forget the awesome soundtracks. Its worth many watches!

varun kapoor

I think the movie was pretty good. The soundtracks were awesome. Once you understand the english accents and get t know the whole movie its a full entertainment package. This was one of those flicks like layer cake, lock stock and smoking barrels. In fact it was a perfect london type of movie, if you know what I mean. I recommend it and don not forget the awesome soundtracks. Its worth many watches!

Mika

at the end of the film i felt duped. a bunch of characters died meaninglessly without accomplishing anything in particular. nobody is really avenged. there's no good action scenes. there's no good romance. there's no plot twists. just a dry, overdone gangster flick that made me wish i'd chosen a different movie instead. i loved some of the characters in the movie, but they all end up dead or wasted. i expected better.

j. craig

This movie was superbly directed and acted. It had the grittiness of a great gangsta crime drama with a bit of dark humor. I would have like to see the movie go deeper into the love affair with Farrell and Knightly, and Winestone is great. This is a must see if u are a movie lover.

Jessie34

Very disappointing! The apparel, Soundtrack and some shots (scene where he is contemplating about shotting the boy) was good, but the story seemed to pointlessesly stumbling along unapologectically from one cliche to the next. Kiera was shamefully dire, rigid and unconvincing, and Colin looked like he had something better to do all the way through. David Thewlis and Ray Winstone dragged this film kicking and screaming to a nonsensical climax not so dissimilar to err Layer Cake, which is ironic because there was an uncanny resemblance to The Body Guard at the beginning!

Tom

I'm amazed at these reviews, we've just watched this movie and thought it was superb. It's VERY well directed, Ben Chaplin plays a great role (miscast... exactly how?), Friel is superb and Farrell plays his usual great part. My only complaint is Knightley as the "famous actress" as she obviously is in real life. Her performance is great but I would have preferred an unknown actress in this role as using someone already famous blurs the line between the movie and real life. Rent / buy this, you won't regret it.

Tom

I'm amazed at these reviews, we've just watched this movie and thought it was superb. It's VERY well directed, Ben Chaplin plays a great role (miscast... exactly how?), Friel is superb and Farrell plays his usual great part. My only complaint is Knightley as the "famous actress" as she obviously is in real life. Her performance is great but I would have preferred an unknown actress in this role as using someone already famous blurs the line between the movie and real life. Rent / buy this, you won't regret it.

Paul Samuel

Awful boring film with the only saving graces beibg good camerawork and Colin farrel's amazing imitation of Phil Mitchell !!!! The charactters name was even MITCHELL !!!!!

Gary Nattrass

A truly dreadful film and a waste of a good cast, writers should stick to writing and leave the front end to people who know what they are doing with a script!

Lynda

Dreadful, dreadful film! The basic plot was 'the bodyguard'', thankfully though it did not contain the singing aspect. Farrell had a terrible UK accent and looked permanently bored. Knightley pouted throughout the film and was an unconvincing leading lady. Can someone please feed her a good dinner or ten! Winstone who is a favourite of mine, did what he could with a terrible script. Friel had the only interesting character and performed her role well.

farma

Very disappointing ending to an entirely disappointing film. I found that there were so many pointless shots - why was Keira Knightleys face everywhere when she wasnt working and not advertising anything - details people! Colin Farrells london accent was terrible but he made up for by taking his shirt off now and again (great eye candy for the ladies!) I couldnt make sense of why things were happening but thought they would be explained at the end ...and they werent, lots of people left the cinema before the end and I really wised I had because the end was the most disappointing part! I literally walked out of the cinema feeling like I had wasted an hour and a half of my life!

Mark R

Absolutely stunning film, most enjoyment I've had in decades, keira really shone!

scrumpyjack

It IS fairly bad, but it's not THAT bad, T.O! Thoroughly daft and really no more than a "rude" version of The Bodyguard. BUT, given the unintentional gwafolas it provided, not a total toe curler. One for the 5 for a fiver dvd deal. 4/10

Film lover

This is not a movie, it's like u paid to see some mumbling from actors just telling stories to each other , very slow moving film, I was waiting for something to happen but I just couldnt sit after 1 hr, had to leave or it would make fall asleep, waste of time and money , didn't expect it to b like this

John Dellingham

Hugely depressingly awful film that, as with all too many Brit movies, is a wonder it ever got made. Every 'gangst'a' cliche in the book and the insufferably prissy Knightley along with the usual Winstone 'evvy guv' part. Oh puuuuuurlease. Reckon any filmed (in any case unremarkable) Bruen novel done like this will bomb - and deserves to.

Broony

in my opinion this is a great movie farrel knightly and winstone are great in this but colin farrels london accent very good i dont know where timeout got the rating of 1 star 4 me this is a 4 star movie.

Godfrey Hamilton

The entire enterprise wouldv'e been more involving from the get-go if it were not a "nervy" actress but a reclusive strung-out actor-in-hiding - a man, say, as beguiling as Farrell himself can be. Cammell and Roeg understood the inherent fascination in same-gender powerplays, and grasped the byways and Labyrinths (pace Borges fans) of male-male tensions and repressed eroticism. In fact Borges might have been more useful than Rilke in this situation. Heterosexuals seem to have become so fucking boring (and vice versa. Sorry). And a closeted Winstone doesn't cut the mustard. Buy or rent Performance instead.

Mike

Why in God's name do they keep trying to keep a genre alive that was never that healthy in the first place. Actually I enjoyed the book but this is a really tedious film simply because it has no style, power or imagination.

critique

Curious, offbeat gangster thriller, hindered by an unconvincing romance between Farrell and the tedious Knightley. Far too much of interest to be dismissed as a 1-star turkey.

Sue

A bit slow to start but otherwise I aree with all that long cat has wriiten - a very enjoyable film

Jontyblue

Really dreadful film - a hotch-pot of any old Sarf London ganster movie, with a ludicrously unbelievable plot. Zilch feeling between the 2 supposed lovers... Several folks walked out half-way through - they had good taste...!

long cat

Surprisingly enjoyable violent slice of sinful London. Characters develop well (though only their mothers could love them) saturated in naughty words yet believable. The Kind of world we all know exists but are wise to keep well away from

long cat

Surprisingly enjoyable violent slice of sinful London. Characters develop well (though only their mothers could love them) saturated in naughty words yet believable. The Kind of world we all know exists but are wise to keep well away from