Investigative journalist Donal MacIntyre's film is fairly standard British TV product, closer to a glorified 60 Minutes segment then to cinematic art. But never mind -- its subject is, as he might say, feckin' amazing.
Though hard to swallow much of this slanted overview, it goes down easy due to Noonan's charismatic force of personality, however unpleasant. But it's less about insight into the gangsta life, than a glimpse into a thug's action hero fantasy world.
At times, MacIntyre's narrative abilities in making the Manchester gangster life-style appear glamorous makes you question how much of the film is real, but when you get down to it, the reality here is between the lines.
A Very British Gangster is a very watchable movie, one that explores an oft-exploited mob milieu and busts some of its fictional bubbles. These are troubling people, to be sure, but MacIntyre makes them human, as well as frightening.