09 August 2012

Film: New Town Killers (2008)

Thoughts: New Town Killers aims to be a combination of gritty Brit gangster/street film, chase film, and I guess social commentary, but doesn't really succeed in melding the 3 forms effectively. While I do enjoy the work of Dougray Scott, his presence is just about the only thing that makes this worth watching, despite his character being really quite predictable. The film spurts and stutters with it's uneven pacing, and despite an admittedly thrilling second act, it just can't manage to make it's various parts come together cleanly.

Mr Scott portrays an evil upper-class gent who uses a rather convoluted method of extortion to rope various unfortunate souls into a deadly game of cat and mouse which-up to this point- he was the sole victor. I mean, if he wasn't, then he'd be either dead or in jail or some other worse fate. But of course, we all know that's gonna change this time around, and it does, in the form of a new young "recruit".

The film spends its entire first act playing setup with the game. We see our young protagonist get roped in via his sister's outrageous debt to some virtually nameless folks who obviously report to our evil puppeteer. Once it hits the second act things pick up, but both acts are filled with various plot contrivances, conveniences and plotholes, and unfortunately the whole thing falls apart more than it connects.

The acting ranges from fine to quite terrible, and the drops in pace really hurt the whole endeavour. What is also problematic is the script, which seems to jump around like an amateur screenplay; going from street to armchair philosophy to attempted menace, as if it were trying to imitate the hyperkinetic editing, which also is occasionally a hindrance moreso than an interesting feature.

The third act drops the ball as well, morphing the film into some bizarre mixture of revenge and social commentary, or something. I can't quite put my finger on it. But regardless, by this point we realize there is nothing but emptiness to any of the characters, including our protagonist, and that whatever is going to happen isn't really going to make much sense anyway.

So all in all, I can't exactly say I was thrilled, or particularly moved, but I enjoyed the chase part in the middle, but still felt a lot of fat could have been trimmed, or at least redrafted.


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