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IMDB Rating: 6.8/10 from 16 votes
Release: 2 April 1981 (Netherlands) /


Genre: Crime, Drama
Stars: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Synopsis: 'John McVicar' was a London Bad Boy. he graduated to armed bank robbery and was Britain's Public Enemy No. 1. He was captured and put into a high security prison. Will even the highest security prison be able to hold him ? This is the true story of his life, his criminal exploits and his eventual rehabilitation. Written by Steve Crook

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Critic Reviews

OK. Decent enough film. 'Rock star tries his hand at acting' is so often a recipe for disaster, but Roger Daltrey is convincing here. And he has good support from the rest of the cast and the director. It is a low budget effort, and as such deserves credit for ending up as a very watchable piece of cinema.

I have one major problem with it though. And that is the way most of the convicts are seen as basically decent salt-of-the-earth blokes, while all figures of authority are seen as the harsh, unsympathetic enemy. This is especially so in the first half of the film, when we are expected to sympathise automatically with the prisoners (most of whom are seen as extremely likable chirpy cockneys doing their best against the unfair adversity of being in the nick) against the guards (all very unsympathetically played as tyrants or halfwits).

I'm not a strict moralist. And I don't believe that all people in prison are monsters. But if you watch the film you will see what I mean. There is a subtle balance required in presenting the human side of an armed robber, or even a petty thief, in a film. It can be done, and done well. But here all we get is a lazy 'it's us lovable villains versus them lot' mentality. And what is annoying is that this is 'beneath' the makers of the film. I think they were talented enough to be able to write and play more rounded characters and get a similar message across in a more authentic way.

Anyway: that's my main problem with McVicar. Watch it and see if you agree. It is not a bad film - I've given it a 6, which seems to accord with the IMDb opinion. If anything, it is worth seeing for the curiosity value of Daltrey's decent performance.

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