Directed by Richard Shephard (who from what I know has only done TV work up to this point) and starring Jude Law. This was one that got mediocre reviews, so I was a bit skeptical going in. However, I did hear that Jude Law, one of my favorite actors but only in more recent years (‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’, ‘Side Effects’, ‘Contagion’, ‘Hugo’) is dynamite in it. Which he is, both literally and figuratively. This is some of his career best work. Totally immersing himself into the titular character which evoked similar characters I’ve seen, namely Tom Hardy in ‘Bronson’, Eric Bana in ‘Chopper’, and most strikingly so to Ben Kingsley’s Don Logan in ‘Sexy Beast’ (Kinglsey’s best performance to date). This is the Jude Law show. Without him there wouldn’t be a picture. He is the meat and bones of the film. But also an incredibly difficult one to like. Unless you find ruthless, vile, crude, depraved, vain, brash, sex and drug addicted characters likable. This is a guy who’s sole purpose is getting off on insulting others and has absolutely zero regard for any sense of human decency. But for all of the debauchery, it’s an actor’s showcase for Law that you really have to see to believe. It’s a ballsy, over-the-top performance, and Law couldn’t have played it better. As for the story itself, it really isn’t all that important, as this is purely a playground for Law to showcase his talent. Though the bare bones synopsis is that he plays a British gangster known for being the country’s best safe cracker, but a job that landed him in prison for 12 years, only to get out at the start of the film. I felt like the story was something that’s been done again and again and I’ve seen many like it. So I can’t say it was all that original which attributed to my grading it slightly on the low side. However, if you are a fan of Law like me and have any interest in seeing what will inevitably land him at least a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor, this is something that I would encourage you to see. As for other people who aren’t as interested in just watching a great performance. What I can say is that I would still recommend it but don’t think it’ll be anything will have you talking or thinking about days later. Except for one hell of a performance.
Grade: B/borderline B-