An ex-con hired to look after a reclusive young actress finds himself falling in love, which puts him in direct confrontation with one of London’s most vicious gangsters.
I like Colin Farrell as an actor but I don’t always agree with his choice of films to work on. I’m not sure Hollywood knows how to use him. When he does these bigger budgeted Hollywood type films, I tend to just not like the films or his performance. The remake of “Fright Night” is a perfect example (I didn’t care for either). The most memorable characters in that film were Evil Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) and Peter Vincent (David Tennant). I’m not going to slam the guys work, everyone needs a paycheck. It’s the little films that we truly get to see what Farrell is capable of. One that may have glided under the radar is “London Boulevard”, written and directed by Academy Award winning writer turned director William Monahan. Farrell owned this role and these are the films I enjoy seeing him in.
Mitchell (Colin Farrell) is an ex-con who is determined to never go to jail again. He is out looking for real work but his friend Billy (Ben Chaplin) keeps finding ways to drag him in. He eventually gets hired by reclusive actress Charlotte (Keira Knightley) to help her keep the paparazzi at bay. When a close friend of Mitchells’ is killed, he will stop at nothing to find out who did it. At the same time, his relationship with Charlotte grows and he begins to fall in love with her. Billy gets him mixed up with big time gangster Gant (Ray Winstone) who wants Mitchell to join his ranks. He refuses the offer but Gant won’t take no for an answer. In fact, he tries to make it impossible for Mitchell to refuse, sparking a bloody battle between the two men.
Farrell really needs to take on a few more of these bad guy roles. He comes off as calm and cool the whole film but as soon as he is crossed, you better watch out. He isn’t the only one, this entire cast was just fantastic. Winstone is especially sleazy as the vicious mobster Gant. Knightley is sexy and sweet, you immediately feel for her and her situation. The paparazzi are constantly camped around her, yelling obscenities at her. It’s easy to see why Mitchell was so eager to swoop in and save her. David Thewlis as Charlotte’s actor friend that is in charge of her affairs is also a bit of a scene stealer.
My main gripe about the film was that it seemed the story was a bit lacking. There were several points that felt unclear. Mostly you will get the idea but things could have been a bit clearer. Aside from that, the pacing of the film works well and the soundtrack is killer. You can’t go wrong with music by The Yardbirds, The Clash, Kasabian, and The Rolling Stones (among others). The way the songs are used in the film help to make the scenes a bit more memorable. I don’t think every time you hear “Heart Full of Soul” you will be picturing this film the way many of us picture “Reservoir Dogs” when we hear “Stuck in the Middle with You”, but it works.
“London Boulevard” isn’t perfect but I really loved the performances and actors. I kind of felt like there was going to be more humor in it when watching the original trailer, thankfully it was a much more serious film and for me it worked well. If you can get past some of the unclear points in the story, you can enjoy the film for what it is. The performances alone are worth watching the film for and I thought Farrell was a complete badass here. The violence isn’t overly graphic so that might detract from the appeal to many HorrorNews readers but this is a very good film regardless. I’m giving “London Boulevard” **** (out of 5). It may seem a bit high but some of the performances really appealed to me. Check it out!!!
London Boulevard (2010)