I will hurt someone before they hurt me.
London Boulevard is written and directed by William Monahan. It stars Colin Farrell, David Thewlis, Ray Winstone, Ben Chaplin, Keira Knightley and Anna Friel. Music is by Sergio Pizzorno and cinematography by Chris Menges.
After serving his stretch for GBH, Harry Mitchel (Farrell) returns to his manor and finds gangland boss Rob Gant (Winstone) wants him as one of his charges.
Written and directed by the man who co-wrote The Departed, it's not hard to guess what sort of tone London Boulevard is set at. Which for anyone who follows neo-noir will find plenty to like here, not least the stylish and tonally compliant photography of Menges.
However, falling under the neo-noir banner becomes a curse in a way because there are far greater films of this ilk to liken it too. Pic at least does have the courage to not cop out in resolutions, but again there is no surprise factor for the genre faithfuls.
The narrative often meanders, shoehorning in Knightley's (underused) harassed actress as a love interest in the process, and London accents are choppy. It also is criminal to have Stephen Graham and Eddie Marsan in your movie and barely give them screen time!
On the plus side of things, the violence and dialogue is often taut and tart respectively, backed by a scorching rocky hipster soundtrack. Farrell is good value as a tough guy, Winstone does what he does best, menacing of course, while Thewlis steals the film as a wired cool cat with menace surprisingly lurking in is heart.
As a whole it fails to hit all the right spots, but enough in here for neo-noir fans to feed on as an appetiser to a more fulfilling noir meal. 6/10