Gangster No. 1 Reviews
"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.
Chronicles the rise and fall of a prominent, and particularly ruthless English gangster.
What a mug! The evil-harlequin mask of Malcolm McDowell, so familiar from those bugeyed closeups of him "mounching lumpchiks of toast" in A Clockwork Orange, has aged into a fabulous ruin. And one of the pleasures of the glib, slick, cocky, brutal, shallow, and terrifically entertaining Gangster No. 1 is in the realization that McDowell is the same McDowell--his voiceover has the same energetic sneer it had 31 years ago in Clockwork. He's the same guy under a withered and weathered facade. As Gangster No. 1--a sociopath with a schoolgirl crush on his boss, spit-shined David Thewlis--McDowell brings you into the succulent pleasures of aged corruption and long-swallowed brutality. No. 1's nuttiness--a kind of belch of guilt, generally released in Francis Bacon-derivative silent screams--seems, for a while, like fun. Paul Bettany, playing Young No. 1, has a great, lizardlike, histrionic deadpan--he keeps telling his victims "Look into my eyes!" as if something scary and deep were hidden there. (Instead, there is zero--an effect Young No. 1 may be unaware of.) The movie takes such a jaunty and directorially piquant view of its own shin-kicking nihilism that you can't help but play along; until the moralizing but utterly earned finale sets you on your ear.
Not deep stuff--not even as deep as the superbly unself-reflective head-smackers who made up Goodfellas' crew. But Saffron Burrows, as a Cockney chanteuse who's mad in love with Thewlis' Mr. Big, brings you back to the days of much-posher-and-prettier-than-their-parts British character actresses. And the director, Paul McGuigan, and Bettany keep the joint jumpin'.
What seemed to be promising was suddenly sunk by the incompetent Paul McGuigan and his artsy, video clip directing style. I was willing to forgive the man and enjoy the story, but I find out it wasn't too good either. I felt that great actors like David Thewlis, Paul Bettany and the mentioned McDowell weren't properly used, they were all like mere set pieces immerse in a sea of overused topics.
Quite a different angle from most British Grangster films and is really aimed at the obsession of becoming the top dog at any cost.
VERDICT: If you like your ganster style films, then this is one that needs to be on your list. If you're sensitvie to strong language, give this film a wide birth.
A great British gangster movie. It's violent, scary, thrilling and a little psychotic.
The movie is not filled completely with action but you will never be bored. The acting is superb and you will be genuinely interested in the story and characters. There is lots of blood as well.
Not much bad I can say, unless you don't like awesomeness.
This is the first film I saw Paul Bettany in, and is probably still the best performance I've seen from him. McDowell is his usual over the top self, which I love.
The story is strange, it treats the gangster genre more like a portrait of an evil serial killer, which I'm sure Gangster would have been if he hadn't found an organization that doesn't look poorly on psychopaths. A great film that can be watched multiple times. I'M NUMBER ONE!