An ex-con tries to go straight by working as a handyman for a reclusive actress, but finds himself pulled back into the criminal underground.
London Boulevard (2010)
Written and Directed by William Monahan
Starring Colin Farrell, Keira Knightley, David Thewlis,
Ray Winstone, Anna Friel, Ben Chaplin, Stephen Graham,
Eddie Marsan, Sanjeev Bhaskar
Based on the novel by Ken Bruen
London Boulevard is what you get when somebody watches one of Guy Ritchie's films and thinks "Yeah, I wanna make that." This film has a great deal of flaws, a lot of which keep it from being a solid gangster flick. It's certainly not the cast, all of whom are stellar and entertaining to watch. The biggest problem is the inexperienced direction of William Monahan, who mistakenly believed his knack for screenwriting could be put to better use behind the camera. However, if his scripts continue to be as cliched and predictable as this, maybe he should give directing another shot.
Colin Farrell stars as Mitchel, an ex-con with a heart of gold who just wants to go straight. I always enjoy watching Farrell act, particularly as a gangster. I just wish he'd gotten to use his natural Irish accent instead of the poorly faked English one he ended up using. Regardless, he was a good protagonist. Keira Knightley played reclusive actress Charlotte, who actually has very little to do in the film. London Boulevard suffers from two loosely connected storylines that don't mesh very well. Because of this, the payoff kinda falls flat. I enjoyed Ray Winstone's typical English gangster villain and David Thewlis's bizarre ex-actor hippie friend Jordan, whose character takes a hard left turn in the third act that seems awfully unwarranted.
In the right hands, possibly Scorsese, Martin McDonagh, or just Guy Ritchie, London Boulevard could've an unforgettable gangster epic that we would still be talking about. Instead, it fizzled out because of its lack of direction and senseless plot, leaving only an excellent soundtrack in its wake. Maybe one day, people will be willing to give this one a chance, but for right now, you're better off just watching Snatch or In Bruges again.