In Liverpool , twenty-seven year-old hairdresser Rita decides to complete her basic education before having children as desired by her husband Denny. She joins a literature course in an ... See full summary »
A vicious London gangster, Jack Carter, travels to Newcastle for his brother's funeral. He begins to suspect that his brother's death was not an accident and sets out to follow a complex trail of lies, deceit, cover-ups and backhanders through Newcastle's underworld, leading, he hopes, to the man who ordered his brother killed. Because of his ruthlessness, Carter exhibits all the unstopability of the cyborg in The Terminator (1984), or Walker in Point Blank (1967), and he and the other characters in this movie are prone to sudden, brutal acts of violence.Written by
Mark Thompson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sound editing and dubbing was done by James Atkinson, who Mike Hodges described as "so obsessive about the job." He gave Hodges multiple possibilities of how the sound could be dubbed and explored every angle. Michael Klinger was worried that the debut director may be overwhelmed with too many options, but Hodges said he and Atkinson got along very well. See more »
When Jack Carter kills Margaret by administering an overdose, as she dies her head falls to her right side. When the police later recover her body from the lake at Kinnear's home, her head is turned to her left side. See more »
This is one of Caine's best roles and undoubtedly one of the greatest gangster/crime films ever made. It is unrelentingly harsh, gritty, and bleak in showing the nasty world of Carter.
Few characters are truly likable or admirable and most have a mix of good and bad. This applies to Carter himself and even the bystanders or victims. Everyone is portrayed as flawed somehow, even those who are tragic. This is one of many aspects that adds to the realism of this film.
This grittiness is true not only of the world of crime, but the entire world of the early post-industrial Northern England, once at the forefront of the industrial revolution but by then a depressed backwater that had yet to feel the true benefits of recent social and economic changes. It thus provides some subtle social commentary as well, although one may easily miss it.
In addition to its raw grittiness, the film is also very intense. There is a building tension throughout, and a palpable that things are not right. At the same time, the events, in particular the action and violence are rather slow but relentless.
In fact, the way the film presents the violence and action is one of the keys to its greatness. It is an unusual, fascinating, and very powerful depiction. There isn't gore or even lots of blood or the like and, like the rest of the film, it generally progresses slowly and calmly. It's not exhilarating or glamorous, but instead deliberate, relentless, and, above all, cold. The coldness of the violence and how Carter in particular, but others as well, kill and hurt in an unfeeling, perfunctory manner makes it seem all the more harsh.
Another interesting aspect of the film is the juxtaposition of the idea that someone can force or change events around him against the feeling that one can merely react to events beyond his control. Both of these themes seem to clash in Carter and his actions, for one of these themes may at times appear to be what's happening, yet in the end it seems that the other exerts its dominance.
Ultimately, this is superb, extremely gritty, and powerful drama. It contains action and violence, but it is not an action film and most expecting a non-stop action film, with flashy fighting, "getting the bad guys," etc. may well be bored.
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