Friday 7 April 2023

Movie Review: Get Carter (1971)

Genre: Crime Drama
Director: Mike Hodges
Starring: Michael Caine, Britt Ekland, Ian Hendry
Running Time: 112 minutes

Synopsis: After many years in London, gangster Jack Carter (Michael Caine) travels back to his hometown of Newcastle to investigate the death of his brother Frank. He catches up with his niece Doreen and Frank's mistress Margaret, and soon agitates the local mobsters. Jack eventually traces Frank's death to a sordid pornography ring involving rival crime bosses Kinnear (John Osborne) and Brumby (Bryan Mosley).

What Works Well: The grimy northeast England locations create a perfect milieu for a world of ruthless gangsters and their molls, and Michael Caine cuts through the terrain with dead-eyed efficiency. Director and writer Mike Hodges demonstrates the potency of combining soulless sex with soulless violence. Memorably epic scenes include Jack preferring a shotgun over any clothes, and a nihilistic climax along a beach appropriated for industry. Avant-garde editing and camera perspectives complement the grey cinematography.

What Does Not Work Well: The structure is a series of stitched-together scenes hampered by patchy, often slow pacing. The plot details are close to incomprehensible, and cluttered with numerous names and interchangeable thugs representing street-level goons and bosses in suits. Most of the women are portrayed poorly and treated worse. 

Conclusion: The gritty attitude extenuates narrative messiness.

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