Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||William Monahan|
|Produced by||Graham King
|Written by||William Monahan|
|Based on||London Boulevard
by Ken Bruen
|Music by||Sergio Pizzorno|
|Edited by||Dody Dorn
|Distributed by||Entertainment Film Distributors (UK)
IFC Films (US)
|26 November 2010|
(US$ 12.3824 million)
London Boulevard is a 2010 British-American independent crime noir film released in the United Kingdom on 26 November 2010. It is based on Ken Bruen's 2001 novel of the same name, with screenplay and direction by William Monahan, marking his directorial debut. The cast features Colin Farrell, Keira Knightley and Ray Winstone.
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The film opens with Harry Mitchel (Colin Farrell) (convicted of GBH under never-explained circumstances) leaving prison. He is propositioned by his friend and former partner-in-crime, Billy Norton (Ben Chaplin), to live in a nice 'acquired' apartment, but on condition he work for Billy's criminal boss. On his way to a 'welcome back' party, Mitchel saves a woman, Penny (Ophelia Lovibond), from being mugged. At the party, Billy propositions Mitchel again. Mitchel is told by Billy and their contact, Danny (Stephen Graham), that his sister, Briony (Anna Friel) is in the basement, and he "saves" her from being raped by a drug addict. Mitchel meets Penny for a drink elesewhere, and she offers him a job to help her friend, a reclusive famous 'retired' young actress, Charlotte.
Mitchel goes to a train station to visit his friend Joe, a blind homeless Big Issue salesman and gives him a knife to protect himself. The next day, Mitchel meets Charlotte (Keira Knightley) and her friend, Jordan (David Thewlis). Charlotte is constantly hounded by the paparazzi perpetually stationed outside her home, taunting and photographing anyone who enters or leaves. Mitchel is offered the job to 'assist' and Jordan gives him a tour of the mansion, including a collection of paintings that look like Francis Bacon's studies on Velazquez screaming Popes and a garage full of Charlotte's ex-husband Tim's cars. At his apartment, corrupt police Detective Bailey (Eddie Marsan) visits Mitchel and tells him to avoid Billy and forces a small bribe from Mitchel.
Mitchel talks to Billy about Detective Bailey, whom Billy can't stand. Joe is mugged, then brutally beaten by two 16-year-old young footballers from the estate and left for dead; and one of the boys takes Joe's knife. At the hospital, Dr Sanji Raju (Sanjeev Bhaskar) lets Mitchel visit Joe, who wants Mitchel to avenge his death. The next day, Billy tells Mitchel that he knows about the car collection and that his boss wants to steal them. At Joe's funeral, Dr Raju tells Mitchel that he wants to date Briony, which Mitchel accepts. Mitchel goes to the pub and asks Danny to find out as much as he can about the two footballers. That night, Mitchel is kidnapped by Billy and taken to his boss, Rob Gant (Ray Winstone), who insists that Mitchel collect money for him.
Charlotte and Mitchel escape from the paparazzi to her mansion in the countryside. Charlotte mentions to Mitchel that something happened to her in Italy, which is implied to be a drug overdose. Jordan tells Mitchel that the incident was that she was raped by a drug addict in Italy, who never got caught but is currently on life support after overdosing on quaaludes, administered by Jordan.
Gant threatens Detective Bailey to stop him making Mitchel pay bribes. Later that evening, Mitchel and Billy meet Gant in a garage, where Gant shoots a black man, whom Gant was led to believe by Billy to be one of the Nation of Islam members who beat up Mitchel and scared off Billy while earlier collecting for Gant. Gant yells at Billy, but Mitchel protects Billy and yells at Gant, who claims Mitchel said to kill anyone. Gant tells Mitchel he is now an 'accessory' to the killing, and to meet him at Criterion Restaurant the next night, for an unknown arrangement.
Charlotte tells Mitchel she loves him. Later, Mitchel and Gant meet and Gant assigns Mitchel to collect money in Streatham, Clapham and Kennington. Gant reveals that the main mugger-footballer has a future and is being scouted by professional teams, and implies that Mitchel had best leave him alone. Mitchel tells Gant that if he were a gangster, Gant would be the first person he'd kill and would take everything Gant has, but claims he isn't a gangster and walks away. Gant, to put Mitchel in trouble, orders his henchmen, Fletcher (Matt King) and Beaumont (Nick Bartlett) to kill the doctor who owns Mitchel's apartment after Gant forcibly sodomises Beaumont. Mitchel learns who the footballer is and follows him into a tunnel, planning to shoot him, but has a change of heart at the last moment, and lets the young man walk away unaware.
Mitchel visits Charlotte and tells her that he loves her; the two sleep together. Mitchel sees Billy's van and attacks Billy, who says that Gant sent him to kill Mitchel; he warns Mitchel to look for "a big Bosnian fucker". Mitchel borrows one of Charlotte's husband's Rolls Royces and confronts Billy at a pub. He beats Billy, who says Gant will kill everyone who Mitchel loves, and Mitchel steals the money Billy collected for Gant. Mitchel meets his sister at a restaurant where she tells him that her relationship with Dr Raju is finished. Mitchel tells Briony to get out of the country and go to Paris and wait for him there because there are some people after him and they will try to hurt her. He gives her a train ticket and money, but she belittles his worry and ignores the warning. Mitchel and Jordan find Billy's dead body in the front garden of Charlotte's home, and the Bosnian, named Storbor, standing outside the gate.
Mitchel asks Jordan to help him kill Storbor and the two follow Storbor to a nightclub where they meet him and the drug addict from the party named Whiteboy (Jamie Campbell Bower). Mitchel takes the two to his van, where Jordan ambushes and strangles Storbor until his throat bursts, while Mitchel knocks Whiteboy out. They drive to Charlotte's countryside mansion and Whiteboy begs Mitchel not to kill him, but Mitchel shoots him in the head. Mitchel lifts a gate, causing the pit where they dumped Storbor and Whiteboy, to flood and conceal the bodies.
Meanwhile Briony, who'd laughed off hiding in Paris, is in her London flat having a sex game with Dr Raju when Gant comes by and, off-screen, kills them both with a hammer. Detective Bailey (ostensibly in Gant's employ) visits Jordan, who was expecting him, based on Mitchel's advice; Jordan leads him at gunpoint to a darkened stairway to the basement, and kills him. Charlotte is shown in Los Angeles, where police are on TV talking about paparazzi stalking her. Mitchel enters Gant's home and knocks out Gant's wife, while Fletcher and Beaumont are outside clowning around. He walks into Gant's bedroom, shoots Gant in the head, and takes £60,000. He goes home and hides the money and his gun under the floorboards. As he leaves the house, he is ambushed and repeatedly stabbed by the same footballer whose life he spared earlier in the tunnel, who tells Mitchel, "I heard you were looking for me." He departs, leaving Mitchel to die. Cut to Jordan sitting on a bench in the countryside, with a gun, as two police officers in the distance walk towards him. The screen goes to black, and the film ends as gunshots are heard.
- Colin Farrell plays Harry Mitchel, an ex-convict
- Keira Knightley plays Charlotte, a reclusive young actress
- David Thewlis plays Jordan, Charlotte's agoraphobic business manager, who soon befriends Mitchel and helps him out during the film.
- Anna Friel plays Briony Mitchel, Mitchel's "wild" sister who meets and later dates Dr Raju.
- Ben Chaplin plays Billy Norton, a none-too-smart criminal and friend of Mitchel's
- Ray Winstone plays Rob Gant, a crime boss and homosexual rapist
- Velibor Topic plays Storbor
- Eddie Marsan plays DS Bailey, a corrupt cop who is following Jordan and bribing Mitchel, causing him to get into trouble with Gant.
- Sanjeev Bhaskar plays Dr Sanji Raju, a friend of Mitchel's who begins to court Briony.
- Stephen Graham plays Danny, a contact of Mitchel
- Ophelia Lovibond plays Penny, the actress's friend
- Simon Grover plays the Porter at Storage.
- Gerald Home plays the Undertaker.
- Matt King plays Fletcher, one of Gant's henchmen.
The film is set in London, which is where the majority of the scenes were filmed, with some scenes shot at Ealing Studios. It was also filmed in Hammerwood Park, East Sussex. Filming began on 8 June. The giant billboard advertising posters of Charlotte's face that appear in the film were shot by legendary fashion photographer David Bailey.
A trailer was released on 1 November 2010. The film opened in the UK on 26 November 2010.
IFC Films picked up the release rights in the United States and had a 5 October 2011 release date for the Video on Demand premiere, and an 11 November 2011 release date for the theatrical release.
Negative reviews tended to criticise the narrative as being unfocussed. The LA Times film critic, while praising the cinematography, a "beautifully bleak brush stroke of contemporary noir", and the "brutal extremes" of violence, wrote that "in trying to take a bite out of crime and another out of fame, [Monahan] ended up with more than he can chew for his first time in the director's chair". The NY Times review complained of "abbreviated, sometimes unnecessary subplots", and opined that "a few of the characters' cockney accents are so thick as to be virtually unintelligible." The A.V. Club review also complained of "a surplus of plot threads that don't have space to play out, and accordingly come across as clichés."
The film also received significant praise. Among positive reviews, Stephanie Zacharek of Movieline praised the cinematography of two time Oscar-winner Chris Menges, and the "aura of '60s stylishness", and noted that the violence is "deftly handled". In The Hollywood Reporter, Ray Bennett also praised the "gleaming cinematography of London at night", and the soundtrack that "succeeds in evoking the '60s while sounding entirely in the present." In The New York Post Kyle Smith wrote: "One of Hollywood’s most in-demand writers whips up a potent directorial debut with the vicious, spirited gangster drama 'London Boulevard'." The Urban Cinefile's review stated: "Fast paced with great cinematography and an upbeat score, this graphically violent thriller satisfies on every count".
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- Stuart Kemp (10 June 2009). "Two join trek down 'London Boulevard'". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 19 June 2009. Retrieved 8 July 2009.
- Steven Zeitchik (14 July 2009). "Stephen Graham off to 'London'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 28 July 2009.[dead link]
- "IMDb Locations". IMDb. 30 May 2009. Retrieved 24 June 2009.
- "Knightley and Ferrell in London Boulevard". Gossip Jack. 12 June 2009. Retrieved 24 June 2009.
- Audrey Ward (8 June 2009). "London Boulevard begins shooting". Screen Daily. Retrieved 24 June 2009.
- Stephanie Zacharek (10 November 2011). "Colin Farrell Slow Burns Through Smart, Stylish London Boulevard". Movieline. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
- "London Boulevard trailer". Matt's Movie Reviews. 8 November 2010.
- "London Boulevard". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 21 December 2011.
- London Boulevard at Metacritic
- Betsy Sharkey (11 November 2011). "'London Boulevard': Crime, fame, Colin Farrell not a good mix". LA Times. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
- Stephen Holden (10 November 2011). "Thwarting Paparazzi and Thugs". NY Times. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
- Alison Willmore (10 November 2011). "London Boulevard". A.V. Club. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
- Ray Bennett (26 November 2011). "London Boulevard: Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
- Kyle Smith (11 November 2011). "Gangster 'Boulevard' bold". New York Post. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
- Louise Keller (6 February 2016). "LONDON BOULEVARD: DVD". Urban Cinefile. Retrieved 6 February 2016.