One of the most luckluster and spineless entries into the British gangster genre made, ironically enough, by a filmmaker who defined it all several decades ago. See Get Carter, the original version, if you want to see stylish grace executed with poisonous aplomb and bitter vigor. Not a great film, but if you like this kind of stuff, you can't beat Michael Caine.
Clive Owen may be the first actor in cinema history to embark through an entire film project utilizing a single facial expression. Then again, he doesn't have much to go on; here's the basic plot: (if you think I might spoil something, then don't read ahead, although we find out all this stuff in the first 20 minutes or so).
Bad evil former gangster now retired hides in woods doing manual labor. He is evil, but now out of the lifestyle, and you can tell this because he's bearded, doesn't talk much, and has a glassy-eyed expression.
Bad gangster's younger brother is a man-about-town drugrunner, midlevel scumbag, who gets pulled into a warehouse and raped by Malcolm McDowell. Younger brother, dazed, startled, wanders home, and fittingly, commits suicide. Wouldn't you? He's one of the lucky ones.
Then we watch slowly, relentlessly, as Clive returns from hiding, finds out all this stuff that we already know, is given bare patchy explanatory mumbo-jumbo from other characters, and then kills who he needs to kill.
Visually dull, completely un-stylish, and utterly pointless. Everyone involved clearly wasn't sleeping enough, or was sleeping way too much. What else can I say? Jonathan Rhys Meyers, who I usually like, is wasted here, as is McDowell, who looks a bit put out to be involved in this at all. Even Charlotte Rampling turns up, in another absurdly superfluous character.
Sorry guys, really wanted to like this one. Didn't.