Welcome to Monster Mondays 35, and today I am reviewing a film I saw last night because it fits perfectly with the theme.
Review: We Still Kill the Old Way
Ian Ogilvy ... Richie
Alison Doody ... Susan Taylor
Christopher Ellison ... Roy
Danny-Boy Hatchard ... Aaron
Lysette Anthony ... Lizzie Davis
James Cosmo ... Arthur
Steven Berkoff ... Charlie
Tony Denham ... Butch
Dani Dyer ... Lauren (as Danni Dyer)
Summary (From IMDB):
When retired East End villain Charlie Archer is murdered by a feral street gang, his brother Ritchie returns to London from Spain to investigate.
First a proviso for fans of the gentlemanly Ian Ogilvy from such roles as The Saint - this is a much, much, much darker kind of film.
This is a gritty British film. It takes it's violence seriously. This is not a film for the squeamish or those expecting Hollywood style violence. It earns it's 18 rating. If you have seen Pan's Labyrinth by Guillermo del Toro, remember the scene with the bottle? That's what the violence is like in this film - shocking and uncomfortable.
That being said, I think that is a good thing because this is a film about human monsters, and violence should not be a comfortable, sanitised thing. There is rape, there is thuggery and there is torture in this film, so if that squicks or triggers you, leave this one off the watch list.
What is interesting is there is nothing gory. We are shown very little blood because many of the acts we see the person commit them, but not exactly what they are doing. It is not filmed like a splatter horror movie, which is, in a way what makes it worse. We experience what it going on even though we don't explicitly see every detail. It is very well done.
The E2 gang are the "bad guys" and violent nasty little thugs. From the first moment they are introduced I wanted them to get their just deserts and the need only increased the more I saw of the film. I really did hate the lead bad guy, Aaron (Danny-Boy Hatchard), which is just what Hatchard and the director wanted, I think.
However, the "good guys" are definitely not good people either. They are old time East End gangsters who have retired, but they are perfectly willing to admit what villains they were. In some ways, still are.
Richie (Ian Ogilvy) is an East End gent, with a touch of OCD, who has been living in Spain. He's left the violence and the crime behind, mostly, and is living the pampered life of the rich. However, when his brother is killed, he is perfectly willing to return and handle it himself. The film makes us like him, he's the hero after all, but the film doesn't sugar coat who he was or what he does.
His friends are:
- Arthur (James Cosmo) - an Enforcer with anger management issues
- Roy (Christopher Ellison) , a Torturer who can tell a lie at a glance
- Butch (Tony Denham), a Body Disposal Expert with a liking for machetes
All the cast do a superb job.
Lysette Anthony is brilliant as Lizzie, one of the locals who remembers the old days and is the person who alerts Richie to what is going on. She is perfect as the link to the nostalgia of the old days, although even she admits Richie and his brother were villains.
Dani Dyer does superbly as Lauren, the girl trying to fit in, and falling deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole into a nightmarish wonderland of violence and callous disregard for human life, as she does so.
And Alison Doody holds up the side for female empowerment as Detective Inspector Susan Taylor, trying to keep the East End as crime free as she can without stepping over the line.
This is a simple film about murder and retribution. It is well written, well directed and well filmed. In a couple of places I wanted to tell the camera man to just stand still, but that's simply modern film making for you.
There is no way to call this movie a nice film, but it is:
There is no deeply complicated plot to make us think really hard, but the plot we do have is well thought out and put together so that it keeps us hooked.
"We Still Kill the Old Way" is a good film. I recommend it, but be warned about the violence.
The good news is there is also a sequel currently in post production. I shall definitely be adding that to my "to watch" list.