I had heard so much about this, including that some consider it to be one of the best British films of recent years, if not ever.
That's certainly a high bar to reach, and, now that I've finally seen this, I can say that, unfortunately, this film is grossly overrated.
Gary "Gal" Dove is a retired gangster living a comfortable life in rural Spain. His comfortable situation is suddenly shaken up when Don 'Malky" Logan, an associate from his past, shows up and bullies him into taking part in a major heist back in London.
The film does have its share of typical 'caper film' moments, but it is primarily a psychological duel between two volatile men.
I don't have an issue with the set up, but I feel like this film really doesn't add up to anything much at all. It's not really about much, and the plot is light, and yeah, sometimes I'm cool with that, if not nuts for it.
However, I feel let down here, because it's not nearly as gripping and interesting as it could have been, or as compelling as I was lead to believe.
Ben Kingsley, yes, is intimidating and commanding as Don, but the scenes with him verbally abusing Gary and the new people in his life are just uncomfortable to endure. The swearing really loses its impact, and feels really awkward and forced, and it shouldn't. It starts off fine, but it just keeps dragging, and that's where I began to check out. Plus, he really doesn't give that much of a justification for his actions, making the proceedings even more pointless.
The film is well shot though, and the moments when there is violence are startling, realistic, and very well done. But in the end, this feels like a glossy, but ultimately half-baked effort. Besides Kingsley, I do think the performances are good, and Ray Winstone is capable of leading a production. Ian McShane is also decent as the man leading the heist, but compared to Kingsley, he's really not as threatening as he could/should be.
All in all, the film has its moments, but the bigger picture is a sloppy, sometimes tedious mess. I'll give it some credit though, since it had potential, but really think this should have been re-written and given much more thought.