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STUDIO: Anchor Bay
RUNNING TIME: 104 min.
• Theatrical Trailer
• 8-Page Booklet
“D’ye like a chocolate sandwich?”
Bob Hoskins (Sweet Liberty), Michael Caine (Jaws: The Revenge), Cathy Tyson, Robbie Coltrane (Nuns on the Run), Sammi Davis (Hope and Glory)
Small-time thug George (Hoskins) gets released from prison into a post-Thatcher London he barely recognizes, and that scarcely acknowledges him. His old boss Mortwell (Caine) owes him big-time, but has become too powerful to be bothered to settle accounts. George ends up with the demeaning job of driving upscale hooker Simone (Tyson) to her assignations—an occupation that unexpectedly brings his gangster skills back into play when she asks him for a favor. There are souls to be saved: to coin a phrase, he’s no saint… but he just might be some kind of angel.
"I’m tellin’ you, White Castle is the next exit."
Writer/director Neil Jordan (The Company of Wolves, The Crying Game) cemented his favorite theme in this, his third film. Namely, what it really means, and what it costs, to be a hopeless hopeless romantic. Hoskins isn’t the usual Jordan protagonist (they tend to be taller, and Irish) but he’s the man for the job, and this is the movie that put both him and Jordan on Hollywood’s radar.
"This might work better if we turn around."
Jordan’s stylized vision, which recalls Taxi Driver and Hardcore, hasn’t dated much. He indulges in fairytale imagery, and surrounds his characters with tools and artifacts from an earlier time. Only once, when Genesis’ In Too Deep overpowers the soundtrack, is the viewer violently dragged back to 1986. Coltrane is welcome as Hoskins’ only true friend, though the scenes in which they deconstruct the film’s plot as if it were a mystery novel are a touch pretentious.
A note on Caine: Sir Maurice had become something of a joke at the time, seemingly appearing in every other film, coasting his way through countless pieces of dreck. He’s alive and fucking dangerous here: the charm just a mask, and the famous accent pared down to its Cockney core.
"Mention Bewitched one more time and I’ll pull your lungs out your nose!"
A surprisingly slim package from Anchor Bay. The essay in the included booklet is well-written and perceptive, but it would be nice to have had some words from the key players on the occasion of the film’s 20th anniversary.