GANGSTER No.1 :: DRAMA :: 010

8bearGangster No. 1 (2000) What if Alex DeLarge, from A Clockwork Orange, was able to parlay his “ultra-violent”-tendencies into an East Ender crime lord?  You’d have one hell of a brutal, sadistic.., and likely, sensational mob flick.  And that is just what you get with Gangster No. 1!

As a fan of Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange (back when I first saw it in the early 90’s) a grin crept to my face when I saw Young Gangster (Paul Bettany) look across, intense and sinister, from under a lowered brow.  He even had the mannerisms of an “Alex” as he would disregard his victims sobs for sympathy with a smile that either meant “you amuse me” or “you have no idea you’re about to die.”

Gangster No. 1, directed by Paul McGuigan, is the story of a young gangster hired to work for The Butcher of Mayfair, Freddie Mays (David Thewlis).  It was 1968.  The young gangster is mesmerized by Freddie’s sense of style, reputation and panache but falls out of love when Freddie’s sensitivities get the best of him and falls for nightclub singer Karen (Saffron Burrows).  Now in his crazed mind, as the only gangster with a pair of yarbles, he sets out to become king.  Malcolm McDowell (Gangster 55) plays the role of the aged Young Gangster, high on his throne, in the present time, 1999.

One of my favorite scenes of the film, was the “coming-to-power” of Young Gangster after his mentor Freddie Mays gets “put away.”  In A Clockwork Orange, when Alex senses dissension in his group, he puts his droogs into their place, proper-like, with swift and brutal lashings of the ultra-violent.  Quite similar does the young gangster confronts the only member of the party with seniority, correctively squelching his tongue-wagging, and sits, decisively, assuming his throne; the exact spot that Mr. Freddie Mays used to occupy.

The best scene, and one that may go down as one of my favorite interrogation scenes of all-time, comes about half-way in the film when Paul Bettany’s character pays Eddie Miller (played by Eddie Marsan) a visit.  Eddie winces and shutters as if he knows in his gutty-works that he’s about to be snuffed out.  Every gross fascial fluid seeps from his blubbering face as he attempts to explain that his “meeting” with rival boss, Lennie Taylor (Jamie Foreman) “wasn’t what you think.”

For those who like: Reservoir Dogs, Snatch, and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels…I viddy this one’s for you.  As clear as an azure sky of deepest summer… you can rely on me!  And although the ending could deliver more, the rest leaves you shagged, fagged and fashed… in a good way!

What where your thoughts on this film?

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3 Responses to “GANGSTER No.1 :: DRAMA :: 010”

  1. […] discovered this film after watching Gangster No. 1 and it’s stunning interrogation scene with Eddie Marsan.  I was so impressed with his […]

  2. Helicon Says:

    Whatever happened to Paul Bettany?! He gets a great role in a great movie like this, then follows it up with A Knight’s Tale and Wimbledon?!! Come on dude, you’re better than that…..

    • joycereview Says:

      You are right. Every actor his their “flops.” But Paul is “hands down” one of the best, most expressive actors out there today. There is something about those Brits that are just so damn great. Think about. Malcolm McDowell, Terrence Stamp, Alan Rickman, and the list goes on and on.

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