Studio: GK Films, Henceforth
Publisher: Entertainment Film Distributors, IFC Films
Format: DVD (reviewed), Blu-ray
Release Date: July 18, 2012
Price: $24.98 – Available Here
A movie with Colin Farrell, Keira Knightley and David Thewlis is bound to attract attention. London Boulevard is a movie that tries to straddle a few different genres at the same time, but whether it succeeds in that is debatable.
Colin Farrell plays Mitchel, a man who has just been released from prison, and it seems that the prison system worked for once because he doesn’t wish to return any time soon. Unfortunately for him, his past ties seem to keep dragging him back into the system.
I’ve never been a huge fan of the well-meaning criminal who is just in the wrong place at the wrong time, and is forced back into the business by some means or another. These characters tend to be a bit self-righteous and trying a little too hard to be likeable. Colin Farrell treads this fine line, he doesn’t do it entirely successfully and there are some moments that seem personally designed just to appeal to those who think Colin Farrell is ‘fit’ and want him to be in the hero role. The part I most enjoyed watching was when Mitchel flexed the strength and began to threaten others because Farrell really does have the ability to threaten with nothing more than a few mild words and a stare down.
Mitchel’s story line is the typical mob sort of story line, although with a little less length and depth than you’d usually expect because it is shared with a somewhat out of place romance with Keira Knightley’s character Charlotte. This is where the contrast of the movie comes in, it goes from a typical mob story, to a typical romance within the blink of an eye. Mitchel swaps from each story from day to night time and the fact that he does have the day time story, with a possible job going for him as well, it kind if lessens your sympathy for him.
Mitchel’s story line with Charlotte involves him taking on a sort of bodyguard, protective role. Charlotte is a internationally known actress, not unlike Keira Knightley herself, and there are a few moments and speeches that are extremely self-reflective. There’s a huge degree of irony about Knightley’s character talking about how female actors are utilized in films to support and help male characters to explore their depths, when her character has very little to do apart from seem frail, fall in love with Farrell’s character, and have a small amount of depth that doesn’t get explored because of the mob story.
It’s almost as if they wanted to make a different movie, one that explored the perils and issues of celebrity status, through the eyes of one that had been so badly treated that she had been left with a case of agoraphobia, and felt trapped by her own popularity. But then in order to sell the movie and have some fun fight scenes, they inserted the action and mob story line.
Due to these two story lines that don’t really intersect, each of them feel short changed. If Charlotte hadn’t been a massive star she probably would’ve come under attack or threat of the mob, which could have tied the movie together and probably resulted in a high-speed getaway, but there’s never a threat of this because of her status. The only thing that links the two stories together is Mitchel, and David Thewlis’ character Jordan.
The ending is something that might frustrate some people, but I can actually appreciate it for what it is and what it represents. And there’s a nice little irony to go with it that doesn’t hurt the movie quite like the irony of Charlotte’s story line.
There are a lot of sweeping shots of London, and with the title of the movie it’s no surprise. There is some great camera work in the movie, and some shots are quite well framed and carried out. It’s a good-looking film, and there are some scenes and close ups that carry some significance, while others are trying to carry significance. Overall, though, it is done well and is enjoyable enough to watch.
The soundtrack is a quirky little thing that emulates a lot of popular UK styles of music, including what I would call a tribute to the Beatles being the main track. It’s fun enough to listen to, and provides appropriate backing to certain scenes, or adds irony to others.
The special features on the DVD include the trailer and cast interviews on the film. It’s always nice to get the cast thoughts on the film, although it’s a fairly short special features section, it still does well for itself.
London Boulevard is a film that tries to marry two different genres, unfortunately, given that it shows promise with both but doesn’t manage to pull of either that successfully. Still, it is entertaining to watch and Colin Farrell certainly pulls off a gangster well. It deserves a watch, although don’t have high expectations of it.