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When Mitchel (Colin Farrell) is released from Pentonville Prison, he has every intention of making a new, clean start. But he needs somewhere to live and his gangster friend Billy (Ben Chaplin) offers him a place in exchange for his help on a job. Gant (Ray Winstone), the ruthless mob boss, notices Mitchel and sees him as a potentially valuable asset to his business. Mitchel refuses but still gets caught up in extortion and murder. Meanwhile, Mitchel is asked to become body-guard to paparazzi-shy movie star Charlotte (Keira Knightley), who hides in her Holland Park mansion. Their attraction to each other is immediate. No-one is safe, including Mitchel's troubled sister Briony (Anna Friel) and Mitchel has to take matters into his own hands.

Review by Louise Keller:
As gangster thrillers go, this one is a ripper. William Monahan, Oscar-winning screenwriter for The Departed (2006) has adapted Ken Bruen's book in great style and directs his top cast adroitly. This is a story with a bit of everything: ex-crim looking for redemption; beautiful movie star wanting protection; a colourful string of bad-ass characters, each considerably worse than the last one. Fast paced with great cinematography and an upbeat score, this graphically violent thriller satisfies on every count, delivering more than the predictable.

When the film begins, Mitchel (Farrell) has just come out of jail. He desperately wants to go straight but finds that he cannot. It's as though the world has conspired against him forcing him into situations he would like to avoid. He moves in with Billy (Ben Chaplin), a miserable, weak crim who collects payola for Ray Winstone's ruthless, top dog Gant and coerces Mitchel to tag along. Violence is unavoidable and Mitchel is surrounded by people with problems, including his anorexic, troubled sister Briony (Anna Friel in a role that gives her plenty to work with) his down-and-out friend Joe (Allan Williams), who is murdered by hooligans. Eddie Marsan plays a wimpy, crooked cop working for the intimidating Gant.

Although the circumstances in which Mitchel is recruited as handy-man / body-guard to reclusive movie star, Charlotte (Keira Knightley) may be the weakest part of the plot, the chemistry between Farrell and Knightley more than makes up for it. Charlotte's celebrity is splashed everywhere on billboards, while we become fascinated by her guardian Jordan (David Thewlis), a wonderfully conceived character. Jordan is a failed actor who spends most of his time high on drugs, quoting literary gems. When asked how he feels about a gun, he simply says: I am a trained actor - I can feel anything about anything.

The film's best scenes are reserved for Farrell and Winstone: the scene in the warehouse, when Jordan is forced to become an accessory is unforgettable. So too is the scene set in the classic, expensive London restaurant where Gant offers Mitchel a future under chandeliers with expensive wine at hand. Monahan builds the tension beautifully and by the time Mitchel is forced to take matters into his own hands, we are ready for the bloody consequences. Farrell is at his best and well matched by Winstone, whose ability to portray nasty is unsurpassed.

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(UK, 2012)

CAST: Colin Farrell, Keira Knightley, Ray Winstone, David Thewlis, Anna Friel, Eddie Marsan, Allan Williams

PRODUCER: Michael Boughen, Tony Winley

DIRECTOR: William Monahan

SCRIPT: William Monahan, Matt Sherring (book by Ken Bruen)


EDITOR: Dody Dorn, Robb Sullivan

MUSIC: Sergio Pizzomo


RUNNING TIME: 99 minutes


SPECIAL FEATURES: Trailer, cast interviews

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: July 13, 2012

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