Gangster No.1

( 1 )

Overview

A portrait of a cold-blooded young gangster living and loathing in 1960s London, this drama features Malcolm McDowell in a major role in his first British picture in years. McDowell opens the film as the present day Gangster 55, who learns that an old associate, gangster Freddie Mays David Thewlis, has just been released from prison after serving a 30-year sentence. The story then flashes back to 1968, when the young Gangster 55 Paul Bettany makes Mays' acquaintance and subsequently wins his trust by dealing with...
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Overview

A portrait of a cold-blooded young gangster living and loathing in 1960s London, this drama features Malcolm McDowell in a major role in his first British picture in years. McDowell opens the film as the present day Gangster 55, who learns that an old associate, gangster Freddie Mays David Thewlis, has just been released from prison after serving a 30-year sentence. The story then flashes back to 1968, when the young Gangster 55 Paul Bettany makes Mays' acquaintance and subsequently wins his trust by dealing with his enemies from a rival gang. The relationship between the two men is threatened when Mays falls for Karen Saffron Burrows, a no-nonsense dancer. When 55 learns that Lennie Jamie Foreman, a rival gang leader, plans to ambush Mays and Karen one night, he pits the two gangs against one another so that he can emerge as Gangster No. 1. The film was directed by Paul McGuigan, who previously examined the crusty underbelly of British society with his screen adaptation of Irvine Welsh's The Acid House 1998. ~ Rebecca Flint Marx
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
The slick yet brutal take on the British gangster film doesn't add anything new to the canon but still manages to offer up a fairly interesting take on this genre. The narrative hook of Gangster No. 1 is that it never tries to make the title character sympathetic or humane: he remains chilly and brutal from start to finish. As a result, Gangster No. 1 is a tough film to warm up to but genre fans will find it worthwhile for a number a reasons. The first is its high caliber of performances: Paul Bettany cuts a dashing yet scary figure as the young Gangster 55, vividly bringing his quiet psychosis to life through a combination of icy glares and controlled bursts of rage, while Malcolm McDowell's work as the older version of this character stuns the viewer by utilizing considerable skill for bombast to create a man who has been ruined by his inability to show or feel human warmth. There is also some sharp supporting work from David Thewlis as the tough yet humane gangster that Gangster 55 fetishizes and Saffron Burrows as the good-hearted moll who suffers for her decision to stand by her man. Director Paul McGuigan lends a stylish eye to the tale using slick visuals, frenetic editing, and a jazzy John Dankworth score to effectively offset the brutal edges of his subject matter without ever softening it. He also pulls of some inspired stylistic flourishes, the best being a vicious murder whose gruesomeness is all suggested via point-of-view camerawork. The end result is a chilly but powerful experience that is not for sensitive viewers but is stylish and substantial enough to make a viewing worthwhile for crime movie buffs.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/27/2009
  • EAN: 6867445001498
  • Original Release: 2000
  • Source: Ais
  • Format: Blu-ray
  • Sales rank: 82,085

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Malcolm McDowell Gangster No 1
David Thewlis Freddie Mays
Paul Bettany Young Gangster
Saffron Burrows Karen
Kenneth Cranham Tommy
Razaaq Adoti Roland
Johnny Harris Derek
David Kennedy Fat Charlie
Andrew Lincoln Maxie King
Jamie Forman Lennie Taylor
Eddie Marsan Eddie Miller
Cavan Clerkin Billy
Martyn Read Rough Diamond
Don McCorkindale Smashing Bloke
Arthur Nightingale Toilet Attendant
Emma Griffiths-Malin Julie
Gary McCormack Giggler Bennett
Sean Chapman Bent Cop
Caroline Pegg Flo
Tony Denham Club Manager
Jo McInnes Lesley
Jamie Foreman
Technical Credits
Paul McGuigan Director
Nicky Kentish Barnes Co-producer
Peter Bowles Executive Producer
Richard Bridgland Production Designer
Chris Carreras Asst. Director
Jonathan Cavendish Producer
Johnny Dankworth Score Composer
Philip Elton Art Director
Ulrich Felsberg Co-producer
Johnny Ferguson Screenwriter
Norma Heyman Producer
Andrew Hulme Editor
Jina Jay Casting
Peter Sova Cinematographer
John C. Taylor Sound/Sound Designer
Jany Temime Costumes/Costume Designer
Simon Fisher Turner Sound/Sound Designer
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    GANGSTA REP

    'GANGSTER NO.#1' is a well-delivered piece of British crime lore that avoids the heavy stylings of 'Sexy Beast' or 'Snatch' in favor of a more straight ahead coverage of the era it's mainly set, the 1960's. The wardrobe and characters evoke the 'Get Carter' era Micheal Caine with sharply dressed hoods wreaking havoc on the public with glee. Paul Bettany plays an ambitious but frighteningly cold thug who's jonesing for the dapper leader's spot and his woman. Intersected well between Roddy MacDowell's modern persona of the older thug who still yearns for his mentor's charisma. Worth seeing.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews