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||IMDB Rating: 6.8/10 from 10,602 votes
||Release: 9 June 2000 (UK) /
||Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
||Director: Paul McGuigan,
||Stars: Alex McSweeney, Andrew Lincoln, Anton Saunders, Cavan Clerkin, David Kennedy, David Thewlis, Doug Allen, Eddie Marsan, Jamie Foreman, Johnny Harris, Kenneth Cranham, Malcolm McDowell, Paul Bettany, Razaaq Adoti, Saffron Burrows
||Synopsis: A middle-aged crime boss smugly reflects back from 1999, narrating the brutality which made him triumphant - and feared. As an unnamed young hood in Swinging 60's London, he aped his mod boss Freddie Mays, and seemed to do anything for him. But his narration exposes all-consuming envy: of Freddie's supremacy, and especially his tall bird. The baby shark develops his viciousness and backstabbing, scheming to be Gangster No. 1. Written by David Stevens
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The first thing I notice is the cover-jacket.
It is littered with the critic's gushing praise ; ` Diamond-edged
performances' spews one filmic muso.
Hmmm...I'm immediately suspicious. Films The Truman Show and Existenz
garnered such critical acclaim yet, suspiciously and unfortunately,
to do absolutely nothing for me.
So how does Gangster No.1 fare?
Well, ladies and gents, believe the hype. If Gangster No 1 was a man, it
would be diamond geezer.
Gangster No1 is a gem, albeit a very dark one. A brutal black comedy and
ultra-hip crime-flick in one - it's a cockney masterpiece, a genuine
King of a movie.
The year is 1968 and our eponymous hero (we only ever know him as
`Gangster') is taken under the wing of Freddie Mays, the quintessential
End gangleader. Though Freddie is young he has already earned himself a
chilling moniker, the 'Butcher of Mayfair', and a great wad of cash.
Gangster begins working for Freddie, collects debts here, breaks a few
there, but soon has his eyes on the bigger prize - to be Gangster No.1.
be like Freddie. Soon Gangster is plotting his ascent, murdering fellow
members and precipitating an internecine gang war on his way up the
So far, so unoriginal, I hear you say. But what distinguishes Gangster
from its rather lame contemporaries (think Circus and 24 Hours in London)
its razor-sharp dialogue and superb performances. The scene where our
gangster confronts a gang member suspected of being in cohoots with a
is simply electrifying.
Paul Bettany manages to be menacing, piteous and ultra-cool all at once
a frighteningly realistic turn in the title role. David Thewlis too, as
Freddie Mays, is faultless. Malcolm McDowell provides a suitably
cockney-fied voice over, but later reappearing in person as an older
of our Gangster to provide the motivation behind the insightful
One slight criticism. The old `end of act-two problem' rears its ugly
at around an hour and fifteen minutes. Yes, the film becomes bogged down
rather as Malcolm McDowell goes on a panicky cockney walkabout waiting
Freddie Mays to be released from prison. And when the two finally meet,
what was once Freddie May's luxury 60's pad, the scene isn't quite as
explosive as you'd hoped it might be.
Nevertheless, Gangster No1 is an excellent film. A credible gangster
a stylish revisiting of the 60's East End, a cracking script, and spot-on
Oh and the critics were right, the performances are ` diamond -edged'.
Tags for Gangster No. 1 Full Movie
, Andrew Lincoln
, Anton Saunders
, Cavan Clerkin
, David Kennedy
, David Thewlis
, Doug Allen
, Eddie Marsan
, Jamie Foreman
, Johnny Harris
, Kenneth Cranham
, Malcolm McDowell
, Paul Bettany
, Razaaq Adoti
, Saffron Burrows
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