After seeing London Boulevard I sat down with Ray Winstone's character, Mr Gant, to discuss the film. This was our conversation. It was very, VERY sweary.
DIR: William Monahan
Gant: Yeah. So what did you make of the movie, you facking c**t?
24FPS: To be honest Mr Gant, I thought it was largely bollocks.
Gant: The dog's bollocks?
24FPS: Afraid not, just regular bog standard bollocks.
Gant: You think you can do better, c**t?
24FPS: That's really not the point, it's more that hundreds of directors before William Monahan have already done better, that this movie plays like the cutting room floor scrapings from every sub-average British gangster movie ever made.
Gant: Give me some facking specifics.
24FPS: Well, let's start with you, and with the actors playing your criminal gang.
Gant: You want to watch yerself sunshine.
24FPS: You're fictional Mr Gant, I'm really not scared of you. Anyway, you're all cartoons, spouting out the mouldiest of cliche gangester lines, all of them liberally festooned with obsceneities.
Gant: Like fack, and c**t?
24FPS: Like, as you - repeatedly - say, fack and c**t. Frankly it's a bit boring, and the fact that neither the plot nor the characters were keeping my interest meant that I ended up wondering what the exact ratio of swear words to other words was in the script. It's not as though THE DEPARTED, which William Monahan also wrote, was lacking in swearing, but the dialogue was intersting, so you didn't end up counting fucks, here it just sounds like Monahan, whenever he couldn't think of anything else for a character to say, just threw in a c**t.
Gant: Didn't you fink the plotting was clever, like how I made Colin Farrell my facking bitch?
24FPS: No. I've seen it all before, especially that car park scene where you try to induct him into your organisation, a scene which comes complete with dialogue so cliche I wonder if Monahan got it from an examplar passage in screenwriting for the near brain dead.
Gant: Alright you facking smart arse c**t, was there anything you did like?
24FPS: They're both underused, but the two lead actresses; Kiera Knightley (as a movie star who shuts herself away in her home to escape the papparazzi) and Anna Friel (as Farrell's alcoholic sister) are both good. They each feel like they're in a completely different movie to the impoverished man's GET CARTER that you and Mr Farrell (who is not bad here so much as he's just bland) are participating in, and while Friel's storyline is also familliar, Knightley's was actually the more furstrating, because I didn't feel like I'd seen that movie before, and yet it kept cutting back to you and Ben Chaplin doing your boring mockney villain thing.
Gant: Awright, what about the tech side, not going to tell me it looks shit too are ya? ARE YA?
24FPS: No, actually it's often gorgeous, and that's what happens when you hire Chris Menges to photograph your film, and cast such fabulously beautiful people as Farrell, Knightley and Friel.
Gant: And me.
24FPS: Well. Anyway, it's something, but it's not much compensation, because it doesn't stop the storytelling from being plodding and the plot being depressingly telegraphed (the 'surprise' ending is anything but). Nor does it keep the dialogue from clunking, especially Knightley's speech about the role of women in cinema, which couldn't have landed with a more resounding thud if it had been wearing concrete boots.
Gant: So you saying my facking movie's shit, ya c**t?
24FPS: Yes, bluntly. LONDON BOULEVARD is so predictable that if you've ever seen a British gangster film before you'll know exactly where it's headed right from the start. It's a shame, because there are some interesting ideas here (who, for example, is the photographer outside Knightley's flat who isn't among the press corp) but Monahan's flat refusal to explore these ideas, in favour of a story we've all seen, done better, fifty times already, is really irritating. Also, it's annoyingly sweary, I may have mentioned that.
Gant: Well if that's what you think; fack you.
24FPS: You too. Nice talking to you.