London Boulevard (2010)

London Boulevard
Director: William Monahan
Writer: William Monahan
Based on: Ken Bruen‘s novel
Cast: Colin Farrell, Keira Knightley, David Thewlis, Anna Friel, Ben Chaplin, Ray Winstone, Eddie Marsan, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Stephen Graham, Ophelia Lovibond, Jamie Campbell Bower

Mitchel (Colin Farrell) was just released from prison (where he spent time for grievous bodily harm) and now tries to leave his old circle. But his friend Billy (Ben Chaplin) who set him up with a place to stay, would rather see him with himself in the money-lending business. But Mitchel declines and finds himself a job as a handyman/bodyguard for the reclusive actress Charlotte (Keira Knightley) and her business manager Jordan (David Thewlis). Unfortunately, Billy’s boss Gant (Ray Winstone) isn’t really willing to let Mitchel go.

London Boulevard should be entertaining. It has an impressive cast and I do enjoy these gangster stories. Unfortunately, the whole thing is much too muddled to really achieve its potential.

The movie has a couple of problems, but the biggest is the sheer number of characters they try to incorporate. Mitchel’s sister Charlotte (Anna Friel) comes and goes and doesn’t really add much to the story (even though Anna Friel was delightful), the connection Mitchel has to the homeless guy is never explained, Dr Raju (Sanjeev Bhaskar), Penny (Ophelia Lovibond) and Danny (Stephen Graham) are dropped as soon as they fulfilled their plot purposes.

And with that many supporting characters, you get too many subplots, none of which have enough time and in the end there are plote holes and more plot holes and “huh?” moments.

Most likely, Monahan just liked the book too much and wasn’t willing to really cut anything. But condensing a book into one film without cutting will do just what I describe above. [I haven’t read the book, so this purely my assumption. It might be that the book is just as muddled.]

The movie has two saving graces: the cast is excellent (though Keira Knightley is all wounded vulnerability and that is way too little for an entire character) and it really captures the despicability of the paparazzi (I don’t know if they’re really that invasive, but I sure believed it).

Summarising: Okay, but not great.


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