If Love, Honour and Obey was a shop on the high street, it would be a charity shop: retro CDs, cheap tracksuits and mugs are all on offer here on a shoestring budget .
This BBC-backed, British gangster flick sees Ray Winstone’s (Scum) North London criminal faction pitted against their Southern counterparts, headed by Sean Pertwee (Dog Soldiers). Coincidentally, this is the third Pertwee film we have reviewed, and we’d just like to emphasise the fact that we are in no way attracted to this man. Coming up next week – Equilibrium…
Humourous from the offset, this tale of a turf war includes a varied British cast which portrays this cockney rivalry well. With much of the film’s hilarity coming from the crude dialogue between them, this film also incorporates karaoke as an unlikely, yet effective plot device. Although some of the musical scenes do tend to run on a little, the cast obviously had fun in the making of them. Other side plots accompany this gangland mock-up, including a wedding, erectile dysfunction, and a grudge match between Rhys Ifans (Hannibal Rising) and the courier-come-gangster Jonny Lee Miller (Trainspotting).
The film has a decent entertaining feel to it and after making Final Cut (1998) together the previous year, the repeat combination of Jude Law (The Talented Mr. Ripley), Sadie Frost (Dracula) and Winstone make this a superior film to its predecessor. All the themes projected in this movie keep you interested from the start, from the plots to the dated cars,phones and clothes. Considering you would get more cash raiding a public payphone for the budget, Dominic Anciano and Ray Burdis have done well here.
The main drawback with this flick would have to be the limited target audience, with regards to international viewers. Whilst the dialogue is entertaining for the cockney-hardened British viewer, it would make as much sense to other nationalities as Einstein’s Theory of Relativity would make to a Peruvian llama farmer. This would inevitably hinder the overseas profit margin; a common oversight within the British film industry. The film has a slightly predictable end result and it veers to become quite dark and serious in the last twenty minutes (the toilet brush-anal cavity combo springs to mind here).
With these faults aside, Love, Honour and Obey is a decent addition to the British film market. It is one of the best gangster tales that we have on offer and although not very well-known, it is generally a good, fun watch and should be checked out. With a bigger budget we can’t help but feel that this would have been able to compete with the likes of Guy Ritchie.
Performance of the film – Despite a talented cast, Ray Winstone is undisputedly the daddy in this one.
Quote of the film – Ray Winstone “You’re fat, and I’ll throw you in the river…”
Fact of the film – Many aspects of this film are true to life. Ray Winstone is a massive fan of karaoke; This is the second Anciano/Burdis collaboration in the space of a two-year period to use the cast’s actual first names; and ex-S.A.S henchman “Bill” was actually a former member of the special forces, having been awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal in the line of duty.
Soundtrack/score – Most tracks from the film are actually performed by the cast, making it a refreshing karaoke mix including Tony Christie’s Avenues and Alleyways.
An enjoyable gangster romp, well worth 94 minutes of your time. Watch it you mug. 83/100.
(Last watched 7 days ago. Reviewed by Mr. Holly and Fuzzy).