Sunday, 2 November 2014

Get Carter [1971]

Mike Hodges created a seminal British action/ crime/ gangster film with his well-crafted debut feature Get Carter, a pop-cultural cornerstone where gritty realism in genre filmmaking goes. Dreary, nihilistic and downright nasty, it ushered in its wake a new penchant for combining the ‘angry lone man’ persona with edgy filmmaking. Jack Carter (Michael Caine), a London-based hood working for a powerful mobster and in a sly affair with his boss’ fiancée, decides to go back to his native Newcastle in order to attend the funeral of his recently deceased brother Frank and investigate the cause of his death as he suspects foul-play and possibly murder. The deeper he goes in his chillingly relentless pursuit, the more entangled he becomes in a vicious and murky web involving an organized pornography racket led by the slimy sleaze-ball Kinnear (John Osborne), his old buddy and Kinnear’s stoic henchman Eric (Ian Hendry), his orphaned teenaged niece who he wants to protect from the vultures all around her, and a whole gamut of opportunistic people. Hodges made excellent use of location shooting, making Newcastle’s milieus, from its bleak working-class neighborhoods and waterfront to its grimy underbelly and stolid urbanization, a distinctive part of the story. Caine, with his near psychopathic streak of vengeance and violence, and the cold charm and menace of a viper, was perfect as Carter, and the film was completely bereft of any likeable or empathetic characters. The four-way climax involving Carter, Eric, Kinnear and a mysterious assassin, made for a structurally operatic finale albeit filmed in a downbeat, measured and matter-of-fact manner, as was the rest of it. The minimalist fusion soundtrack, comprising of piano strums and table beats, heightened the pulsating tempo.

Director: Mike Hodges
Genre: Crime Thriller/Gangster Film
Language: English
Country: UK

1 comment:

Tony Brubaker said...

The British film industry must be destroyed for it is an abomination before God and the Kingdom of Heaven.