Family Movie Night
by Karyn Bowman
Last week when I was doing my research for one of the movies I planned to write about, I kept seeing people refer to this Colin Farrell movie call London Boulevard, a decidedly adult movie.
I had never heard of it let alone even seen a trailer for it. After a little digging, I found out that this movie may have never made it to the big screens in America despite it’s American director, William Monahan. If Monahan sounds familiar it is because he wrote The Departed and Kingdom of Heaven.
The story is gritty and rough as we follow an ex-con trying to make sure he does not go back to prison. His first night back sees Mitchell getting his druggy sister out of one rough situation while he also makes it possible for another girl to get to an ATM without trouble. That encounter leads to a possible job as a handyman/protection for a fragile and reclusive actress played by Kiera Knightly.
Meanwhile, one of his hoodlum friends has him come along for a few ‘collection’ calls which brings him to the attention of a gangster boss. Gant, played by Ray Winstone, is evil and mean. He is willing to kill the innocent for showing up at the wrong place and time. And let’s not talk about what he will do to people who say ‘no’ to him.
As Gant and Mitchell spar, it becomes clear a battle is brewing and in the end it is not going to be pretty.
Monahan wanted to make his first film as a Boston gangster drama. But at some point he decided he had done that and choose to make the setting in London instead. The film has plenty of violence and swearing so that anyone who doesn’t like that in a movie would probably not like this. But it is a movie filled with wonderful small performances from Farrell, Knightly, Winstone, Anna Friel, and David Thewlis complete with spare but revealing dialogue.
They add depth to these roles, making us like or hate these people. I was most impressed with David Thewlis’ character, trying hard to remember where I know him from. It took a minute before I got to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Thewlis was Professor Lupin, the werewolf Dark Arts professor who was friends with Harry’s parents. It is during this adventure that Harry learns about his godfather and his parents’ group of friends along with their betrayal.
I loved his performance in this third movie of the series because Thewlis appeared to take on some of the traits of Claude Rains in his characterization of Lupin. Claude Rains played the father of Lon Chaney Jr., the original wolf man in the 1941 movie, giving himself quiet dignity as he dealt with the changes in his son he could not prevent. Thewlis continues this tradition and is quite believable as a man haunted by a condition he cannot change. His performance, along with Gary Oldman’s, makes Prisoner of Azkaban worthwhile family viewing.
These days of changeable weather might demand we stay in but stay in with a good movie on hand.
Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.