Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB.
United Kingdom, 1980. Black Lion Films, Calendar Productions, HandMade Films. Screenplay by Barrie Keeffe. Cinematography by Phil Meheux. Produced by Barry Hanson. Music by Francis Monkman. Production Design by Vic Symonds. Costume Design by Tudor George. Film Editing by Mike Taylor. Podcast: My Criterions.
A London crime boss (Bob Hoskins in an explosive performance) is on the verge of expanding his empire into an international organization with American assistance. On the eve of his great success, his closest henchmen start getting bumped off one by one, followed by the destruction of his establishments and the threat that someone’s coming after him next. Now he must work hard to keep his precarious new deals from falling through while also trying to find out who is out to destroy him. Helen Mirren gives a thoroughly classy performance in an establishing career role as the glamorous moll who sits at Hoskins’s right hand and helps things run smoothly. The fascinating, near-epic screenplay is matched by John Mackenzie’s tightscrew direction in this thrilling work of art that ranks among the best crime dramas ever made. Look for a dewy young Pierce Brosnan in a bit part.