Original Gangster (2020) – Film Review
Director: Savvas D Michael
Cast: Alex Mills, Steve Guttenberg, Ian Reddington
by @Roger Crow
This ambitious British crime thriller sets its stall out early with a couple of killings, and then sprinkles liberal amounts of executions throughout.
It centres on Castor, orphaned as a child but saved from execution by Milo (Ian Reddington).
Our young ‘hero’ grows up and is forced to survive in the criminal underworld of London.
The trouble is Castor, as good looking as he is with his designer hairdo (which is obviously handed out to gangster tramps in London), is a phenomenally dull narrator. That monotone is bad enough, but Original Gangster also commits the cardinal sin of being pretentious. Alarm bells started ringing during the opening titles with the mention of ‘Motion Picture’.
“Hard to root for anyone”
Ian Reddington is splendid as the seasoned hitman. I’ve spent so long confusing him for Vincent Cassel, that when the real Ian turns up, I think it’s Vincent.
I’m all for ambitious British crime thrillers, and in the hands of Guy Ritchie, this would have worked a treat. But it’s no Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, even if the ever reliable Vas Blackwood does make an appearance.
It’s not even Ritchie’s uber pretentious Revolver, but on the plus side the art direction and cinematography are rather good, and it ticks over. A shame it’s so hard to root for anyone because most of the characters are so unlikeable, and that includes Castor, the one person we’re definitely supposed to get behind.
Then there’s Steve Guttenberg. You’ll be forgiven for thinking it’s anybody but the first time you see him on screen, but yes, that’s him, dressed up to the nines, but sold short by a so-so script.
Writer/director Savvas D Michael definitely has a great film in him, but sadly this isn’t it.