Film review: The Long Good Friday (18, 111 mins)

Hoskins shines in classic British gangster film

Saturday, 20th June 2015, 6:00 pm
The Long Good Friday
The Long Good Friday

A thoroughly merited re-release of John Mackenzie’s seminal 1980 gangster flick, starring Bob Hoskins in his first leading role.

Harold Shand, a gangster with dreams of business respectability, entertains the rich and powerful and has several heavyweight political figures in his back pocket.

During negotiations which would form an unbeatable Anglo-American criminal underworld stretching across the Atlantic, Harold comes under attack from a shadowy syndicate, which begins to systematically blow apart his business empire ruins.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Shocked and surprised anyone would dare challenge his authority, Harold marshals his forces to learn the identity of his rivals, and exact a terrible and bloody revenge.

The Long Good Friday boasts one of Hoskins’ best performances as the entrepreneur-turned-gangster struggling to keep in check his volcanic temper.

When Harold does finally explode, he is nothing short of terrifying.

This powerhouse portrayal of a fallen angel, undone by his own arrogance, is complemented by Helen Mirren’s delightfully sexy and intelligent girlfriend.

Throw in a vibrant score which builds ominous rhythms, one on top of another, as the threat of bloodshed and retribution escalates into all-out carnage, and you have a film which ranks as undoubtedly one of 20th century British cinema’s most visceral and compelling films.

Thriller | Selected cinemas

Star rating: 9.5/10