Thursday, February 27, 2014

Shiner (2000)

Director: John Irvin

Writer: Scott Cherry

Composer: Paul Grabowsky

Starring: Michael Caine, Martin Landau, Frances Barber, Frank Harper, Andy Serkis, Danny Webb, Claire Rushbrook, Matthew Marsden, Kenneth Cranham, David Kennedy, Peter Wight, Nicola Walker, Gary Lewis

More info: IMDb

Tagline: All That's Left Is... Revenge.

Plot: Billy 'Shiner' Simpson is a shady boxing promoter in South London banned from legitimate fights. It's the biggest day of his life, though, because he has a champion on his hands, his 20-year-old son, Eddie. Billy's put all his money on a victory, as have his quarreling daughters. But Eddie is nervous, an odd guy in a cap is hanging about, the licensed promoter Billy has hired to arrange the evening's other fights has hired dogs, the manager of Eddie's opponent looks down scornfully on Billy and on South London, and Scotland Yard wants to Billy for the death of a club brawler. When the night goes disastrously wrong, Billy tries to find out who double-crossed him.

My rating: 7.5/10

Will I watch it again? No.

I doubt I've ever seen a poor performance from Michael Caine.  Slap him together with even a mediocre script with him meddling about in British crime and you're at least going to get an entertaining picture and that's exactly what this is.  His emotions run the gamut from happy to sad and from charming to vengeful.  Something happens after the boxing match about halfway through that sets the rest of the film in motion.  At this point I started to get a vibe like THE LONG GOOD FRIDAY (1980) where Billy (Caine) is trying to figure out what the fuck is going on. My mind was racing with possibilities.  Now the ending isn't as powerful as the other film but it's a different picture with a different story and whatnot, but it is one that services this picture well.  The performances are strong (it's great seeing Serkis playing one of Billy's bodyguards and having fun with it) as is the story and while it's not likely to make anyone's top list of British crime pictures, it is worth a watch for fans of the genre or the players involved.

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