Okay, so I know I'm going to catch a lot of flack for this, but I had a lot of questions about Get Carter
. (The original, of course. The remake doesn't bear thinking about) I know it's considered a classic film, and perhaps *the* classic British film, but there's a lot about it that just doesn't translate. I was reminded a lot of Croupier, and there is a lot the two films have in common (small wonder, since they have the same director) mainly, in my case anyway, that although it was certainly stylish, I was left feeling at the end that nothing was really accomplished.
Basic Questions: (Warning: Contains Lots Of Spoilers For The Film)
1) I guess my biggest question is, why sight-check Chandler in the scene on the train when the plot has nothing to do with Chandler's work? I mean, okay, it's crime-based. But it's not Chandler's noir. This is not even remotely the sort of thing that Marlowe would have gone around doing. I suppose there are some slight parallels to The Big Sleep, but only in the very vaguest sense as they both dealt partially with pornography rings. However, that was not the main point of The Big Sleep, not by a long shot. Why not have him reading Hammett or something more straightforward- Red Harvest would have suited this film far more. (And hell, why have him reading anything but the Racing Post any way? Jack didn't strike me as the cerebral type...)
2) Why the women-as-furniture motif, *especially* if you're going to sight-check Chandler, who wrote interesting and active female characters? I can't speak for my entire gender, but I am fairly certain most women do not behave like the ones in this film. About the second time I got told to shut up I'd have knocked Jack's block off, shotgun or no shotgun. I can't think of a single one of my friends or acquaintances who would have stood passively by while the events in this film unfolded. Women in this film are decoration and plot devices, but not characters. They just do what they're told, and passively obey whichever male happens to be in earshot. This doesn't make me angry, it just confuses me- why have them in at all, much less so extensively, unless you're going to give them something to do?
3) Building on that, why was everyone so up in arms about the niece/daughter being in the porno? I mean, okay, it's not a career one would choose for their daughter, and being upset would be natural, but she didn't appear to be coerced in any way, and didn't seem to be suffering any trauma (aside from grief over her father's death) in the sixty or seventy seconds she was on screen. (in the actual film, not the film-within-a-film) In fact, from what little we see of her she seems to be doing all right. No one bothered to check whether she was particularly outraged about the movie, or even if she wanted people to take revenge on her behalf. No one even bothered to get angry at her for starring in the porno in the first place, or mentioned it to her at all- it was like she was an animate plot device to get the film into the second half.
4) Where was all the gangstering? This is supposed to be a gangster film, but there really aren't any rackets in evidence. There's a guy who makes porn films and has drug-fueled orgies at his house, but I was under the impression that was pretty much the 70's in a nutshell. I have been informed that it was still illegal in Britain to make porn films at that time, but still, it's not like they were funneling guns to Nicaragua or running drugs or fixing sporting events, or other classic gangster careers. It ends up that the entire plot revolves around Jack's brother getting killed because he was threatening to turn in a porn director to the police. That's not a bona-fide gangster act, that's just a terrible life choice on the behalf of the porno director, especially when it turns out the man's brother is normally employed as an enforcer. The plot would not have been vastly different without the quote-unquote gangster angle.
5) If the porn producer was working with Jack's bosses, wouldn't Jack's bosses have a) heard about this plan to kill Jack's brother, if not before then at the very least shortly after it happened, and b)expected Jack to go on a murderous rampage when he heard about it, and maybe, I don't know, kept him on assignment out of town until it all blew over, or sent him to South America ahead of time? We're assuming that he was a useful operative and losing him would cost them money and time, likewise a loss of money and time if the porn producer was taken down. It was a lose-lose situation for Jack's bosses. Wouldn't they at least warned their business partner that killing off Jack's brother in anything less than a clear accident would result in a very short-tempered enforcer coming to town for revenge? Isn't that the sort of thing you mention when you expect to keep making money with your business partners? Why wait for everyone to get killed or carted off to jail before putting paid to the problem?
6) Speaking of jail, if you are said short-tempered enforcer and you're so gung ho about killing everyone connected with your brother's murderer and/or your niece/daughter starring in a stag film, down to killing a woman who just happened to be in the film with her, wouldn't you want the guy who both shot and produced the film *and* ordered your brother killed to receive the same amount of vengeance as everybody else who was even remotely connected with it? Maybe even more so, considering he was the entire reason behind all the bad stuff that happened to your family? In which case, why does letting the cops get him seem like an okay option after you stabbed another man to death just for playing a minor role in both incidents? (Incidentally, I think he would have lived through that, or at least certainly longer than ten seconds; the switchblade had a very short blade and he didn't look like he'd been hit near anything instantly vital) Is prison that bad in England, that it's considered a worse alternative than death by a career enforcer, who has probably spent some time on the inside himself?
7) Also, if you suddenly decide that you care enough about your family to commit murder in aid of revenge on their behalf, where the hell have you been for the last twenty years when they could have used your help in not getting into these situations in the first place? We have a saying for this: a day late and a dollar short.
8) If you're an enforcer, you probably have some idea how enforcing works, right? So wouldn't you know that when you're going around wiping out members of another gang, a) you don't have to chase people when you're carrying a shotgun, and b) wide open spaces are not your friend? My response to the end was not shock but "Well, duh."
9) The gun work in this movie is terrible. Yeah, that's not a question, but it needs to be said. Especially the shotgun stuff- never mind that it's never used; there's some hugely dangerous handling going on. It's hard to believe these people are gangsters when they've clearly never handled a gun in their lives.
Labels: movie review