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GET CARTER, 1971
Movie Review

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GET CARTER MOVIE POSTER
GET CARTER, 1971
Movie Reviews

Directed by Mike Hodges
Starring: Michael Caine, Ian Hendry, Britt Ekland, John Osborne
Review by Michael Everett



SYNOPSIS:

When his brother dies under mysterious circumstances in a car accident, London gangster Jack Carter travels to Newcastle to investigate

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REVIEW:

My favourite decade for classic films is the seventies, movies like “The French Connection“ and “Marathon Man”, with there wide shots, rapid zoom ins, simple story telling and realistic action sequences, make them an enjoyable nostalgic view on how credible cinema use to be, and Get Carter is no different.

It’s realistic British film making at its best, a revenge gangster/thriller movie that set a landmark for future films of the same genre and transformed this country’s cinema from darling innocent movies, to a new wave of darker film making.

Films like The Long Good Friday, Mona Lisa and Lock Stock owe a great deal of credit to this movie, it paved away for future aspiring filmmakers and will always stand the test of time to other past British movies. There are so many talking points about this film, but for me there is only one main one, the lead character.

His name is Jack Carter, a hitman who lacks any kind of conscience, where beating people up and locking women in car boots is an every day thing, someone who can go on a killing spree all day and still get a goods nights sleep. A man so viscously charming he makes Hannibal Lector look like a History teacher. (no doubt a refreshing if not shocking change from the “chocks away” war time heroes who dominated movies back then).

Any actor would have relished the chance to get there teeth into such a role and thankfully it was Michael Caine who did. He plays Carter to perfection, in every scene he either scares you, thrills you, or makes you laugh his ask questions first, then use brutal force tactics later. Caine, with a genuine look of a London gangster/hitman has the ability to make Carter a villain in one scene and a hero in the next, making J.C one of the greatest movie characters ever created, a British version of Travis Bickle.

The film isn’t 100% perfect though, there are plot holes and it does unfold at a snails pace. But writer and director Mike Hodges combines subtle bits of story, with brutish violence and humour to keep you interested making it gripping stuff, while a bleak Newcastle setting gives it that added grimy depressing feel.

Co-starring legends such as Ian Hendry, John Osborne and Britt Ekland, it’s Caine’s film and his best lead performance to date and 37 years on it is still talked about when he goes onto talk shows, and rightfully so as Get Carter is the best British gangster film, while also being one of the best British films of all time.

Get Carter (2000)

Sylvester Stallone is no Michael Caine and Stephen T Kay is no Mick Hodges, and both show in this shoddy remake. It doesn’t work in the slightest, the flashy camera work and fast pace editing may look good but it completely misses the point of the original. Everything about this film has been Americanised and the attempt to give the lead character ethics has to be the biggest remake faux pas ever. Thanks to the Americans not only have they tainted the Get Carter legacy, they have somehow turned Jack Carter into a ponce.

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