Sunday, January 20, 2013

London Boulevard

For the directorial debut from William Monahan, the accomplished writer of "the Departed" (2006) that won him an Academy Award, he has adapted the novel of the same name written by Ken Bruen for the big screen.  "London Boulevard" made the rounds in 2011 at the festivals but never received the wide release in the US.  The film is a take on the 1950 film noir classic "Sunset Boulevard", however very little of the British take meets the style of a true noir. 

The story involves Mitchel (Colin Farrell) who just got out of jail and wants to stay legitimate but is willing to hurt someone before they hurt him.  His friends involved in the messy London underground fear him and want him to join them again but Mitchel tries his best to stay away.  He gets himself a job as a bodyguard for an actress Charlotte (Keira Knightley) to keep away the paparazzi.  When a homeless man that he has become friends with is murdered, he seeks revenge only to be crossed by Gant (Ray Winstone), a mob boss, who forces Mitchel to work for him. While working together Mitchel and Charlotte fall in love, which becomes the weak point that Gant intends to exploit.
I didn't really know what to expect from the film and I wasn't exactly surprised either.  I like Colin Farrell and Keira Knightley, but together they are awkward as a couple lacking any true chemistry.  The clich├ęd story of the ex-con going straight is fine by itself and is clouded by relationship between Mitchel and Charlotte that isn't necessary and should have been focused more on his sister (Anna Friel).

The performance from Colin Farrell is exactly what we have come to expect with intensity that captures the audience.  The supporting cast is equally impressive with Ray Winstone delivering his most frightening villain; David Thewlis as Jordan a former actor with a dark side is confusing at first and hits his stride in the final act and distances himself from his character in the Harry Potter series. 

Overall, the film works well and delivers perfectly in the end with an ending that quickly unfolds and has a slight twist.  I think that the film could have done well in the US if it was given a chance and is a respectful 3 Quacks. 

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