Directed by Mike Hodges. UK. 1970. R. 112 minutes. Warner Bros. DVD.
Sun., March 11, 2012
One would generally never think of calm, impassive Michael Caine as being the hero (antihero?) of a brutal thriller – a grim, amoral killer, bent on revenge. But, then again, one could be wrong. In this exciting, sometimes stunning movie, Caine plays Jack Carter (no relation – whatsoever – to the American funny-man of the 1950s and 60s), a small-time hood from London who goes home to the north of England to attend his brothers funeral. The more he learns, the more Carter becomes obsessed with finding out the reasons for his brothers death and with getting revenge. Brilliantly directed by then-newcomer to the screen, Mike Hodges, this is a violent and stylish film, with touches of both modern realism and classic hard-boiled detection, a la Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. Please, please dont mistake this modern noir classic for the 2000 remake of the same name, starring Sylvester Stallone. The two are as different as….well….as different as Michael Caine and Sylvester Stallone. (Bill Roth)