On the surface, a post-modern transposition of a typical American crime drama onto the atypical landscape of England's bleak industrial north. The grit & grime of the place infects & infuses the standard film noir conventions with a level of violence & depravity rarely seen. However, beneath this surface, the film offers an insightful study on the futility of vengeance; as death stalks its characters, like a shadow.
There's a reason Michael Caine is Christian Bale's butler. After getting pinched with a rap sheet a mile long he had to strike a deal, and that entailed witness protection in America. Cleaning up after Batman allows him to vicariously relive his violent glory days. Ray Liotta could only have dreamed of such a sweet deal.
I'm used to seeing Michael Caine as the polite, mild-mannered gentleman, but damn does he pack a punch in this. I expected something a little lighter too. It's a pretty bleak film, especially the second half when Carter goes on a rampage. Loved the shots of North East England too. By the time the movie ended I felt drained, but in a good way.
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.
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.
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.
Upon rewatching, I'm gonna have to add this to my list of favourite British films. It's so much more than the synopsis above would have you believe. It offers an unrelentingly grim portrait of Britain and does an amazing job in depicting the stupidity and insanity of the revenge.
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.