A curious thriller in that it sets up half a dozen potent mini-plots, lets them casually cross paths and yet nothing really comes of it. Sure, there’s torture, a shoot-out and a bomb but none of these incidents reach the level of violence that the brooding atmosphere forebodes and threatens. It just never coalesces and delivers on its nasty promise. Figgis drapes Newcastle in extreme Americana; neon, the Stars and Stripes, visual lifts from Edward Hopper and Weegee abound. Yet we also get some Polish experimental jazz to create a further strange juxtaposition. Griffiths looks delectable, as always, in an underwritten part. Bean does fine in the naive protagonist role. Sting actually is surprisingly effective as the local gangster being hounded off his turf by the Yankee big dogs. It may be that Figgis is aware of the pop star’s limitations and directed him this way, but his Mr Finney has a detached coolness that feels unique in the annals of crime cinema. Not great but noteworthy.
Perfect Double Bill: Get Carter (1971)
Check out my wife Natalie’s Point Horror blog https://cornsyrup.co.uk
We also do a podcast together called The Worst Movies We Own. It is available on Spotify or here https://letterboxd.com/bobbycarroll/list/the-worst-movies-we-own-podcast-ranking-and/