Neil Young’s Film Lounge – Get Carter



UK 1971 : Mike HODGES : 112 mins

Initially condemned for excessive violence and sleaze, Hodges’ pull-no-punches debut made a stack of cash at the box-office and rapidly became established as a bona-fide cult-classic. Quentin Tarantino, no less, says it’s his all-time-favourite British film – and it’s easy to see why. The tale of London-based gangster Jack Carter (Michael Caine) who returns to his native Newcastle and avenges his brother’s death sparkles with hard-boiled dialogue, terrific use of rundown Tyneside locales and brutally efficient direction.

So persuasive is the gangland atmosphere and so convincing are the performances, you probably won’t notice that the plot (adapted from Ted Lewis’s cracking novel Jack’s Return Home) is quite ridiculously over-complicated for what’s supposed to be a no-nonsense action-driven thriller. Caine has seldom been better or more serious than as the spectacularly unpleasant title character, while Look Back in Anger playwright Osborne (of all people) provides welcome touches of offbeat camp as the film’s aristo-snob Mr Big.

2nd June, 2004

NB : review originally written for magazine City Life, published 10th June 2004. This version submitted to Jigsaw Lounge website, 16th July 2004.

by Neil Young