The Long Good Friday (1980)

If this little gem has escaped the lover of high suspense and mystery thriller, The Long Good Friday might be a very welcome return to earlier times when globalism was first raising its rapacious head. Directed by John Mackenzie, from a script by Barrie Keeffe, the movie understandably won awards and high acclaim among English audiences and film community for its excellent story line and its list of superlative acting talent. Even present is one of the earliest appearances of Pierce Brosnan in a minor supporting role, none-the-less. Bob Hoskins’ intensity well serves his role as Harold Shand, a big time London mobster about to make his mark in the much envied world of international high finance. His lady and expressly needed advisor, Victoria, played by the wonderful Helen Mirren, comes to be seen very early on as an important mainstay for his hopes to win legitimacy any further into big business than his London crime syndicate.

Bad decisions made by his alternates place Harold upon a stage for which he is ill-prepared. In the midst of concreting his life’s biggest ambition (and that of most crime bosses, to go legitimate while at the top,) will he adapt to the occasion or will he be ruled by counter-productive measures only tenable to his old haunts. To ways of “doing” business no longer practicable…perhaps even suicidal. The role is tailored for Mr. Hoskins while the lovely Mirren is always the successful actress.

It is very important to pay attention closely to the events unfolding as you watch, nothing is insignificant (the sign of a well written script.) But if you do miss something, the resolution will put it altogether for you towards the film’s end. However, you just might not appreciate the flawlessness involved quite as much. And this is a flawless movie, to have its complexity, the result of clear but ruthless motives of its characters.

And is the dialog great! Wait until you hear Harold’s dressing down of the American Mafia. See a whole contingent of a mob family on meat hooks being “questioned”, and other sterling little moments. Heart-warming.

Scene filming is grand, scene shifts even better. The way direction chooses to edit chronology is clearly a feather in director Mackenzie’s cap. Supporting roles feature one great performance after another. Even Brosnan shows inimitable abilities to effect some really disturbing expressions as he carries out cold-blooded killing. While looking barely over sixteen.

No nudity, just baring to show scars and lethal wounds. Less than “reality” shows these days. Could be construed in some societies as a family film, but very very narrowly.

Very entertaining and well worth the extra attention it takes to concentrate on Hoskins’ limey.

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