The Sunday Cult Film Corner (Brit Grit Special): “The Long Good Friday (1980)”

10 Jun


Not too much energy going on here at the farm today. that’s mostly because i was running around like a fucking loon for 2 nights in a row, first with the Tickling Death Machine at Íðno, then With Entombed last night at Gaukurinn. Right now, my muscles are strafed and flayed, stiff and on fire.

So i’M going to make this short and sweet. For once again we delve into the world of films and the murky world of old blighty as we continue our BRIT GRIT season on the Suuuuunday Cuuuuuuuuuuuult Filllllllllllllm Cornaaaaaaaaaaaaah! (fart…)

And for this weeks showing, we going to see a movie so tough and hard-boiled, you could use it to line the sole fo your working boots. Ladies and Gentlemen, i give to you THE LONG GOOD FRIDAY.

Released in 1980 and directed by John McKenzie, it stars Bob Hoskins as Harold Shand, a gangster looking to move up in the world. With Helen Mirren as his wife, and with aspirations of grandeur, he looks to develop the run down parts of the East end of London with the help of the American mafia. Even though Harold is the undisputed kind of the underworld, his world starts to fall apart over the course of a day (hence the title) when several of his gang are killed and bombs start going off. Harold, spends the film trying to find out the people responsible, while  also trying to see his beg venture through. But when he finds the answers he’s looking for, will he be prepared  for what comes next?

TLGF is one of those films that just old school tough. It’s lean, taut with no wasted scenes or fannying around. The story moves along at a very brisk pace and snares your attention from the off. Despite this tautness, there are some quality touches, such as the slaughterhouse scene and the soundtrack which project menace and a hint of sleaze with those heavy saxophone riffs.

The acting in the film is brilliant across the board, but in reality the film belongs to Bob Hoskins, who continuously chews up the room, scene after scene. For a small guy he just burns with the incredible intensity of a man who’s looking to rise above his station but is merely a few word away from tearing your throat out. Of course it’s also worth noting the acting from Helen Mirren as his upper class, yet disarmingly tough and organised wife.

This is also a film that wears London so profoundly on its sleeve. Using a pre-development of London’s docklands area as a backdrop, the film also shows the ushering in of the ’80s Thatcherite culture. The idea of rising from the gutters and getting rich, of shedding the old grey, decrepit London fo the ’70s and creating a glistening beacon of business, modernity and high level consumption. But despite the main characters allusions towards class and elegance, the reality is that they got where they where though brute force, casual racism, and sickening violence, something which occasionally pops up in the film, especially at the end.

So if you want to see some real hardened crims get the comeuppance, then get some beer and flick knives, sit back and watch this exemplary piece of movie action…

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Posted by on June 10, 2012 in Film


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