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Blast from the Past Movie Review – “London Boulevard” (2010)

June 10, 2012

William Monahan makes his directoral debut in this British caper of sorts. Monahan is best known for scribing the Martin Scorsese Oscar winning crime drama “The Departed”. The script for that film was tight, yet strung out to tell a multi-layered story, and the dialogue was snappy as it was quick. So to have him write AND direct a film would seem like a no brainer, and in some ways he does hit certain familiar notes in “London Boulevard”, but the film is such a mess of sub-plots, and typical characters, that it really doesn’t leave much of an impact.

Mitchel (Colin Farrell) just got out of jail and wants to stay clean, but his friends involved in the messy London underground fear him and wants him to join their crew. Mitchel tries his best to stay away, he gets himself a job as a bodyguard for a retired actress Charlotte (Keira Knightley) who is still hot news for the paparazzi, men wait outside with cameras ready to fire the first shot when she makes even the slightiest appearence. Mitchell, through his friend Billy (Ben Chaplin) eventually meets the underground Don by the name of Gant (Ray Winstone) who wants Mitch to work for him because of Mitch’s ‘reputations’. While working together Mitch and Charlotte fall in love. Gant asks Billy to get the guy who sent Mitch to jail but it turns out to be the wrong one, Gant kills the guy in front of Mitch and lets Mitch know that he has to work for him now that Mitch has seen him commit the murder but Mitch refuses. Gant keeps trying to force Mitch to his side promising him good ranks.

You think that’s the entire plot, it isn’t there still the whole issue about Mitch’s homless friend who was murdered by a couple of hoodlums, Mitch makes it his mission to find those kidss. Also there’s a plot involving Mitch’s drunk/drug addicted sister,  the layers continue on and on from there. There’s too much going on here, the movie needs to find one focus and stay on it. It becomes confusing and overall convoluted by the end. Monahan even pulls a “Departed” style ending, which felt lazy in my oppinion. I’m aware this is based on a book, and I never read the actual novel, so if the movie ends the same way as the book that’s fine, but it still seems odd to have a writer repeat something he’s already done before.

On a minor good note, with the scripts overall story structure issues, it does have some of that classic snappy dialogue that made “The Departed” just so darn good. Colin Farrell & Ray Winstone have the best riffs between one another, they’re supposed to be opposite ends of the spectrum and yet I can’t help but laugh and laugh some more when these two go head-to-head. The cast isn’t too bad here, they’re working with what they got and the do make the best of it. Personally my favorite character was David Thewlis’ role as the out of work actor who lives with Charlotte, Jordon.

It’s a movie I would more than likely recommend to rent or watch on instant netflix for the night, but it’s nothing worthy of buying and keeping in ones collection. There are far better Brti-crime dramas out there than “London Boulevard”, Guy Ritchie is the master at that.

GRADE: C

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