Sunday, 18 March 2007

Review: Outlaw

The last few times I've been to the cinema it's safe to say I've not been that impressed. Actually, I've been quite bored. In fact that's one thing in Outlaw's favour, you certainly can't accuse it of being boring. However, I read the synopsis and thought now here's an interesting one. British film by the maker of Football Factory and The Business, set in present day London...Sean Bean, Danny Dyer, Bob Hoskins, nice bit of violence against those people who think they run the place. Yeeaaah. So, does it deliver?

In short, no.

It's one of those films that makes you say 'What on Earth were they thinking?' and I'm not talking about the movie makers here, I mean no...really...what were the characters thinking? There's no insight into the characters apart from what you see; no background information, no indepth thoughts about where they're coming from. Many people everyday are returning from war, experiencing the violent death of partners, getting beaten up and bottled across the face. What makes these vigilantes, one of whom is a barrister, any more rebellious or likely to become the avengers?

It's a shame because it starts really well, and I can't help but think that if it had continued being about a gang that goes around a beats the crap out of the chav scum that all too often get away with being anti-social and violent towards innocent people then it would have been much better. Instead, it decends into a world of drug and crime gangs with confusing strands of story that you end up not really caring about. More than that though, it lacks a message; a firm standpoint that gives you something to take away from the 102 minutes you've just spent watching it. As it is, you leave not really knowing what to think, is the gang anti-criminal, anti-police, anti-government, or just anti-'system' and all that that incorporates? Who knows. It's anti-something thats for sure, it's definitely anti-paedo... but then even the 'nonses' are put under the same umbrella as the drunk and disorderly who start fights in pubs. Hardly the same ball park, is it?

Thus a film that has a strikingly good premise with scope for a real moral standpoint fails to deliver, which is a shame given the current climate around youth crime, ASBOs and the amount of knife / gun crime reported through the media on an almost daily basis. It seems to me that the makers of Outlaw have missed out on a chance to give a social commentary on the criminal state of London, and indeed the country and instead presented us with a film from which only the jiggly camera angles and bone crunching sound effects leave a lasting impression.

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