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I Fought The Law / Outlaw - Film Review

I Fought The Law
On set with Bean, Dyer and the Outlaw posse...
20 Feb 2007 12:02pm

 

Johnny Depp has swaggered past; Orlando Bloom pelted up the stairs and Stellan Skarsgaard stopped for a nice chat. So Total Film is packing away the dictaphone for the evening, dripping in the sticky summer heat and about to head for the tube.

Hello. How are you? A floppy haired fella is brandishing a straight-lipped smile in our direction. TF nods in recognition. Rupert Friend is at the Odeon Leicester Square to support his missus at the premiere of her new flick. Said missus, Keira something-or-other, has a little film out and its about Pirates

Friend has changed since we saw him last. Gone is the dirty great scar across the left hand side of his face, his milky-white eye is now back to piercing normality and, truth be told, he seems a little more comfortable in his surroundings.

Two months ago, far from a thousand screaming girls in T-shirts emblazoned with inventive slogans such as Mrs Jack Sparrow, TF chatted to Friend on the set of Nick Loves latest flick, Outlaw. In the middle of shooting a pumped-up punch-up with Sean Bean, Danny Dyer and Lennie James, the atmosphere was tense. There was a job to do, a frame of mind to be in and despite the fact we were taking over a pub for the day, the testosterone was flowing faster than the ale.

I wont lie to you, it was a very testosterone-fuelled set, Friend admits.  The women there had balls bigger than most of the guys and gave as good as they got. But it was very enjoyable. Nick Love is probably a genius but also probably quite insane. Hes an amazing guy. I look forward to seeing what he does with it.

The film follows a group of men whove been the victims of the UKs soaring crime culture and havent received a sniff of justice. So they go out and deliver their own brutal brand of vengeance. Controversial? Well, this is the man whos been routinely (and many would say unfairly) consigned to making movies for the chav culture. The Football Factory, The Business love em or loathe em; the fact is, Loves ideas push peoples buttons, piss people off and entertain the masses. The fact that hes managed to rope in Sean Bean and Bob Hoskins on Outlaw, goes some way to suggesting that Nick Love is growing as a filmmaker.

Nick wanted something different on this one, the amiable Danny Dyer tells TF over a pint on set. In the past, hes used certain type of actors, who I love to death; they are all my friends but they all only bring a certain type of thing. Whereas, when youve got Sean Bean, Lennie James, Rupert Friend; we all approach this game in a different way and thats really going to stand out when you watch this. So what is the major difference here from the usual Nick Love fare, you might wonder?

Its not cunt every other sentence and people are going to notice that, Dyer tells us, taking a drag from his cigarette. The Business is a fucking good film but its not necessarily a film for adults. So he had to come back with something thats going to blow everyone away and I think hes pulled it out of the bag with this. Hes not necessarily reinventing himself. Hes got a lot of critics but theres also a lot of people who love what we do and a lot of people who fucking despise what we do and we want to try and shut them up a little bit.


http://www.totalfilm.com/features/i_fought_the_law



Outlaw - Film Review

</b></h1>[2 *'s out of a possible 5 *'s]

Cinema release date:
09/03/2007
Certificate:
12A
Running time:
100 mins
Distributor:
tbc
Starring:
Sean Bean
Danny Dyer
Lennie James
Rupert Friend
Bob Hoskins
Director:
Nick Love
Screenplay:
Nick Love


Thanks to Crimewatch feeding us blurred CCTV images of kids beating innocent Sudoku-ers with planks of wood, Britain is having nightmares. Nick Love, director of The Business, also seems scared. But hes no pussy. And with the law being a total arse, he posits a country where we dont just sit there and count the bruises. He posits a country full of Outlaws.

Taking its title from the gang of vigilantes on whom its plot focuses, the directors fourth film shows Britain 07 at its very worst. From road rage and stabbings to corrupt coppers and a deeply troubled foreign war, panarchy has gripped the UK. Coming together under the shared banner of Pissed Off, returning soldier Bryant (Sean Bean), widowed barrister Cedric (Lennie James), security guard Simon (Sean Harris), posh kid Sandy (Rupert Friend) and office boy Gene (Danny Dyer, natch) seek out those whove done them wrong, so they can dish out revenge in return.

Leaving aside the first-base thinking behind a land full of thieves, where everyone can stab each other in the back, Outlaw suffers severely by assuming some sort of equivalence between the assorted gripes of its lead characters. On the one hand theres Cedric, whose pregnant wife has just been murdered by a crime boss he was prosecuting. Truly shocking. On the other, theres Gene a victim of mild road rage. When disgruntled cop Bob Hoskins offers to feed the gang details of paedophiles, dealers, bullies, junkies many, many viewers will nod along. But when he opens it up a tad with ...and cunts!, the focus vanishes. The men who kitchen-knifed an expectant mother in the stomach? On the same slate as some fella at work who annoys Gene.

Outlaw tries desperately to have a point, to thrash out an agenda. And by soundtracking the films bloody violence with the exciting, energised pulse he mastered in The Football Factory, Love showcases a winning knack for white-knuckle cinema even if its most likely effect is to get thugs all riled, itching to break some bones. Irresponsible, then, but the tabloids are hardly likely to kick up a fuss. This is eye-for-an-eye naming and shaming, their bread and butter. Its a fatal concoction of volatility.

Youre a real philistine sometimes, smiles Bryant at Simon as the latter adds Muslims to his target wish-list. Such a jibe is like saying Oswald Mosley was a bit of a fascist, but only on Tuesdays. In Outlaw, though, these men are the heroes, picking up the dropped bobby-baton and putting it to use as their own beating stick. Philistine is perhaps too kind a word.

http://www.totalfilm.com/cinema_reviews/outlaw
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