Gangster No. 1 (2000)
In London's Soho section in the 1960's, a leading gangster boss teaches his ambitious young apprentice the secrets of his trade.
- R (for strong brutal violence, pervasive language, and brief drug use and nudity)
- Drama , Action & Adventure , Art House & International , Mystery & Suspense
- Directed By:
- Paul McGuigan
- Written By:
- Johnny Ferguson
- In Theaters:
- Jan 1, 2000 Wide
- On DVD:
- Oct 8, 2002
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Critic Reviews for Gangster No. 1
Director Paul McGuigan and cast infuse the proceedings with a strong dose of psychotic gusto and visual flare.
Doesn't offer much besides glib soullessness, raunchy language and a series of brutal set pieces ... that raise the bar on stylized screen violence.
They crush each other under cars, throw each other out windows, electrocute and dismember their victims in full consciousness. And we don't avert our eyes for a moment.
Despite some really good performances especially from Bettany, this is a pretty terrible movie...
A stylish, confused and insanely violent gangster drama from a first-time Brit director.
. . .captures the kinetic quality of the 60s with jump-action pacing, groovy camera angles and the occasional split screen treatment that never crosses the line into camp.
It certainly feels unique, and sets itself apart from most American gangster films in its stark refusal to paint the lead gangster as likable or indeed anything other than the vicious socio-psychopath he is.
It's a handsomely ugly affair, well dressed enough to make a few friends, but tough enough to make just as many enemies.
McGuigan has assembled a stellar all-British cast in which there are no weak links.
Malcolm McDowell is cool. Paul Bettany is cool. Paul Bettany playing Malcolm McDowell? Cool.
Not as well-written as Sexy Beast, not as gloriously flippant as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, but stylish and moody and exceptionally well-acted.
If you can stomach the rough content, it's worth checking out for the performances alone.
Paul Bettany is good at being the ultra-violent gangster wannabe, but the movie is certainly not number 1.
Glizty but formulaic and silly...Cagney's 'top of the world' has been replaced by the bottom of the barrel.
A film divided into past and present sections that are ridiculously disparate.
In an Oscar caliber performance, Bettany plays an explosive character who spends most of the time repressing an evil grin.
Audience Reviews for Gangster No. 1
Gangster No. 1 will never be the no. 1 gangster film, if nothing else, because its title sucks, but it's got its charm. Paul Bettany plays a very believable psychotic mastermind, and Malcolm McDowell plays, well, a very believable psychotic mastermind all grown up. Plus, there's a lot of cool, well-shot violence. Lot of well-made sets and costumes, too. But the story is pretty predictable, mostly believable but certainly predictable.More
Gangster 55: I'm Superman! King fucking Kong! I can pick you up and throw you a million miles. I'm number one.
"It's not who you know, it's who you kill."
I'll admit it did take me awhile to warm up to Gangster No. 1, but it did turn out to be a really good English Gangster film. What won me over were the performances by Paul Bettany, Malcolm McDowell and David Thewlis. Each of those actors gave an outstanding performance. The movie chronicles the rise and fall of Gangster No. 55, played by Paul Bettany when he's young and Malcolm McDowell when he's old. Both actors really sell the character and make the Gangster a very interesting character. I always enjoy watching Malcolm McDowell and he gives a sinister performance. He also does an extremely good voice over throughout the entire movie. Bettany is equally sinister and really makes the movie.
Gangster No. 1 or as I prefer, The Gangster with No Name, does have it's flaws though. Many times the film comes of as an exercise in style of substance. It uses a lot of different editing techniques that I don't think helps the movie at all. If anything, I believe it hurts it. Like I said it did take me awhile to get into the movie. It didn't really become captivating until half way through, but from there on out it really is a great movie. Honestly I almost turned it off a few times in the firs 45 minutes, but I'm really glad a gave it a shot.
It's not going to be a gangster classic by any means. It borrows from a lot of previous films, but in the end it does separate it's self from all of them. It's a cool, stylistic and well-acted movie.
I liked it for the extraordinary talents of Paul Bettany, who turned in one outstanding performance, as usual. It's an otherwise muddled mess the latter fourth of the film, however, when 25 years later an aged Bettany morphed into into Malcolm McDowell?? The logic ot that totally messed up the film for me. But, all in all, Bettany makes it worth the watch...because, let's face it...he is the bomb! :)More
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