One figure doesn’t appear in
A lumbering, laboured farce that pathetically repeats the homophobic and racial slurs of the period without any comment
Thankfully, if only for reasons of taste, we never see the film’s co-director, Edinburgh-born filmmaker Donald Cammell. Instead, our attention is on Burt and Alf (George Russo and Perry Benson), two well-turned-out, but otherwise low-rent members of London’s criminal fraternity. They’ve been invited for a meeting with Cammell who, in search of “authenticity”, has decided to cast real London gangsters in the film’s gangster roles. Unfortunately, he’s now stuck in an interminable meeting with Mick Jagger, although production “runner” and self-described “acolyte” Crispin (Lewis Kirk) sees an opportunity to help with the audition process.
If you’re hoping for some sharply written, gritty collision between Waiting for Godot and Goodfellas, you’re going to be disappointed. Alf is clearly a good sort, amiable and proud-as-punch of his young niece (Maya Gerber) who’s working as Cammell’s secretary, but his interminable monologue is incredibly annoying—though not as arse-clenching as the so-called Sixties Cockney which sounds so cartoonish it saws through any ropes suspending your disbelief. The cast here are doing their best, but the script is frankly against them, while Nick Moran’s staging feels incredibly blocky and old-fashioned, even for the 60s.
When it comes to portraying the straight white working class male, Welsh and Cavanagh have surely never been this bad before, stretching to reach levels of so-called comedy that even a contemporary Carry On… film would have almost certainly avoided. This is a lumbering, laboured farce that pathetically repeats the homophobic and racial slurs of the period without any comment, and considers Perry Benson’s naked arse a suitably fitting climax. Arguably, it is. Avoid.