A crime film which follows a steel-hard guy, Carter, as he heads north to the bleak, ghost-town locales of Newcastle for his brother’s funeral. After meeting up with his brother’s daughter, he begins to believe that his brother’s death was not an accident. Along the way he has a fling and slams into a viper’s nest of pornographers and thugs, lorded over by a venomous, shady-type named Kinnear.
British writer-director Mike Hodges honed his craft in television before segueing to the big screen with the gangster melodrama Get Carter (1971), starring Michael Caine as a cold-blooded hit man. Dismissed by critics as overly violent at its initial release, the film has come to be regarded as a minor masterpiece and an influence on such disparate movie directors as John Woo, Quentin Tarantino and Guy Ritchie.
Born in Bristol, Hodges originally trained as an accountant but after a requisite stint in the Royal Navy found employment as a teleprompter writer. Exposed to the workings of television, Hodges tried his hand and crafting scripts and sold one. He made the transition to director and producer overseeing segments of the English newsmagazine World of Action in the early 1960s. A stint on the arts-themed Tempo followed, where he prepared profiles of such notable film personalities as Jean-Luc Godard and Orson Welles. Further honing his craft, Hodges… read more
Get Carter is one of the defining crime dramas of the seventies and its reputation throughout cinema is more than deserved. It analyses its protagonist Jack Carter in the most brutal, challenging and damaging fashion with Michael Caine as the titular star giving one of his most effective and dramatic performances ever. Caine as Jack Carter, who is returning home to solve the mysterious murder of his brother Frank, is the pinnacle portrayal of a dogmatic, tenacious man, who will strive for justice no matter the consequences. Directed by Mike Hodges, Get Carter excels through its sheer bravery and no-holds-barred attitude. It may have its flaws, but it’s still one of the most eternal portrayals of abject criminal existence, with a remarkable sequence involving Jack discovering the pornographic underworld and one of the most accomplished finales to a movie I think I've ever seen.
an early entry in the 70's-tough-guy-nihilism sub-genre, noteworthy for some inventive atmosphere and an unusually miserable narrative. beyond that, this isn't categorically different from all the 80's crapola that followed once you look past the new-wavy editing. at the end of the day, it's another hateful authoritarian fantasy - with just enough arthouse gravy to dupe you into thinking it's profound. disappointing.
a more serious answer to your question is this... the narrative follows a man who bucks the system, takes the law into his own hands, bullies or tortures anyone who gets in his way and abuses most of the women he comes into contact with throughout the process. "get carter" does it with a bit more style and realism than your average stallone/schwartzenegger actioner, but movies like this set the template for a lot of ugliness to come. and unlike, say, "taxi driver" or "rolling thunder," i don't come out of this one with a sense that it's critiquing caine's actions. it's glorifying them.
i haven't seen "commando" since way back in the day, so it's maybe not the best example. i wrote that first message kinda off the cuff. more and more, vigilante stories like this piss me off, because i think they helped usher in our era of stop-and-frisk-laws and extraordinary rendition programs. this type of movie made foregoing civil liberties seem cool and anti-establishment.
DSCHANK-I don't think the movie glorifies Carter at all. I think it shows that he is not a good person or a good brother. He treats everyone like crap, it alludes to the fact that he treated his brother like shit also. Carter might believe his ends justify his means, but they don't. The ending shows that. It is a revenge tale. Your comment about vigilante movies tends to remind me more of the Death Wish series, than the action films of the 80s.
hi thomas... sorry if you're getting this conversation sent to your inbox over and over. i see what you're saying. and my initial response to you was needlessly snarky, so apologies for that. i guess i lump this movie into a certain breed of 70's amoral badassery, where being an S.O.B. is part of the appeal? clint eastwood's "high plains drifter" is another example of this sort of thing, or peckinpah's "the getaway" or any number of movies with sonny chiba in them. not full on celebrations of the protagonist's behavior, but with a lingering "cool guy" posturing that i'm kind of uncomfortable with.
Michael Caine is great in this as a cold but cool hitman out to seek revenge for his deceased brother. Very violent. The film might be a little too cold for its own good but its worth seeing for Caine's performance and as an artifact of the kind of violence they got away with in the 70's.
An incongruous floral jacket enlivens Arnaldo Putzu’s iconographic British gangster poster.
The first ever Notebook Soundtrack Mix! HYPER SLEEP includes work that reflects jazz, classical, experimental and pop influences.
"The day started quietly enough. Then I got out of bed. That was my first mistake." Mike Hodges' 1972 caper Pulp, his follow-up to the iconic