Friday, 14 August 2015

The Fall of the Essex Boys (2012)

On a wintry December night in Rettendon, Essex back in 1995, three Southend based gangsters and drug dealers were murdered in a Range Rover on a remote country lane.  It was a shocking gangland slaying whose reverberations were instantly felt in the press and media and, with a total of FIVE films exploring the incident, it has since become something of a regular crime cinema staple for the British film industry in the same way that the St Valentine's Day Massacre has been told time and time again by Hollywood.

At least Essex Boys, Jeff Pope and Terry Winsor's dramatised account of the murders, took Goodfellas as its inspiration. The director of  Fall Of The Essex Boys - the latest in a long line of 'Essex Boys' movies - Paul Tanter seems more in awe of the films of Nick Love which is hardly a great movie maker to be emulating now is it?

If you thought the world didn't need another film exploring the events leading up to the gangland slaying of Tony Tucker, Patrick Tucker and Craig Rolfe and its subsequent fall out, then you'd be right. The Fall of the Essex Boys, the fourth dramatisation, is completely redundant and barely watchable despite featuring two capable actors in the shape of Robert Cavanah and Kierston Wareing (I feel like I should worry for their respective careers, especially Wareing who has now appeared in three of the five existing Essex Boys movies) and sticking closely to the established facts - unlike Essex Boys which fictionalised the story and changed names to protect the, um, guilty - by drawing a link between the death of teenager Leah Betts and the subsequent murders, though they changed the name of the tragic teenager presumably out of respect for the family.

There's more than enough bad actors on display, actors who seem to make a career out of appearing in these straight to DVD Brit crime exploitation flicks, and chief amongst them are Peter Barrett, Jay Brown and Simon Phillips as the trio who end up full of lead in a Range Rover on a winter's morning by the close of the film. There is not an ounce of talent or charisma between these players that I can see. Then there is Nick Nevern. An intriguing presence in GBH which I saw recently, he does little here to capitalise on my interest and fails to impress especially in his delivery of one of the very worst voice over narrations I have ever heard. Think Danny Dyer's shouty, too many E numbers, I've-a-hard-on-for-this-scum narration in The Football Factory and then triple the irritation levels of that already deeply irritating device and you have what's on display here. It actually sets the standard for the film; brash, obnoxious, loud and totally unsubtle. 

Nevern isn't the only link to GBH by the way; there's also the appearance of the blonde, heavily made up and porcelain pretty Charlie Bond playing yet another totally unbelievable WPC. Why?! She has more lines here, and it's utterly cringeworthy and once again you feel like you're watching a kiss-o-gram fantasy WPC, helping to sink any believability and good intentions this film may kid itself in having.

Do yourself a favour and watch Essex Boys, because this one is for completists and masochists only.

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