The Long Good Friday (1980 – Blu-Ray)

“You’d have noticed wouldn’t you? I mean, a geezer nailed to the floor.  A man of your education would definitely have spotted that wouldn’t he?”

I was perusing the BFI official list of the top 100 British films and realised I’d only seen about half.  So I’ve decided to make an effort to view them all and 1980’s ‘The Long Good Friday’ is one that I’m new to.  What you expect to get is a gritty “Laaarndan” set Gangster flick but I wasn’t expecting the prescient political dimensions of the story.  The film follows the turbulent day of Harold Shand (Bob Hoskins) an old-school Gang land boss whose empire is under attack just as he is trying to setup a lucrative property deal with a the US mob. Harry’s idea is to redevelop the London Docklands for a future Olympic games (Sound familiar people of 2012?!?), an idea that has the coming decades’ ‘Thatcherism’ written all over it.  Hoskins gives a bravura performance radiating pent-up anger that only fully spills out in a shocking scene towards the end.  Harry’s two closest confidants are Helen Mirren’s intelligent Gangster’s-Moll and his number two played by Derek Thompson of ‘Charlie from Casualty’ fame (Back when his acting consisted of much more than staring off into the distance!).  Someone has betrayed Harry, could it being either of them?

Francis Monkman’s pulsating Synthesiser score is magnificent bringing to mind Giorgio Moroder’s score for ‘Scarface’.  Considering that celebrated film’s similar subject matter the fact that it came 3 years after ‘The Long Good Friday’ shows the influence this film had.  The Blu-Ray transfer is wonderful combining a pinstripe-suit like sharpness while preserving the earthy realism of the cinematography.  The disc is also stuffed with superb extras about the making of the film.

Harry’s final angry speech to his timid American cousins seals the film’s classic British status by being both fiercely patriotic and a little bit laughable (See below):

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