One of the finest British films I've seen. Stylization in Brit movies is usually so overdetermined; here, the high angles, fragmenting montage, and expressive compositions have a sense of whimsy and exuberance--and still it's all of a piece. Early New Wave playfulness meets dour 70s naturalism.
Fairly plain pulp fiction is here transformed into fascinating surfaces of circumstantial detail and mordant juxtapositions. Caine, as ever, a castor-wheeled block of emollient stone is well suited to the cypher-like Carter. The utilisation of the down-at-heel locale helps paint a suitably tawdry fresco to decorate the rather convoluted plot. Deliciously mean.