Flat foot

RISE OF THE FOOT­SOL­DIER Di­rected by Ju­lian Gil­bey. Star­ring Ricci Harnett, Roland Manookian, Terry Stone, Craig Fair­brass, Billy Murray, Ian Virgo 18 cert, Cineworld/ Vue, Dublin, 118 min

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Reviews Film - MICHAEL DWYER

THE web­site for Rise of the Foot­sol­dier opens on a mock street sign car­ry­ing the ti­tle and splat­tered with blood. The rise de­picted is that of Carl­ton Leach (Ricci Harnett) from vi­cious Lon­don soc­cer hooli­gan in the mid-1970s to dan­ger­ous drug dealer in the 1990s. Here is a pro­tag­o­nist who rel­ishes con­fronta­tion, so much so that on his wed­ding day he proudly draw at­ten­tions to his fa­cial bruises from a fight the night be­fore.

The film is “based on a true story”, we are told, and Leach was an ad­viser on the pro­duc­tion. To his credit, he al­lows it to show him warts and all, so to speak, as a sadis­tic gang­ster de­void of any moral com­pass. Or maybe he is as proud of that as he was of his wed­ding-day bruises.

Ju­lian Gil­bey, the 31-year-old di­rec­tor, re­ceived a Bafta nom­i­na­tion this year as most promis­ing new­comer for an­other crime movie, Rollin’ With the Nines, briefly re­leased here last year. A great-grand­son of Nigel Bruce, who played Dr Wat­son in the 1940s Sher­lock Holmes films, Gil­bey scripted the new film with his younger brother William.

They over­reach them­selves by aiming for a crime epic in the style of Good­Fel­las, and later there is a pe­cu­liar shift away from the prin­ci­pal char­ac­ter to con­cen­trate on the “Range Rover mur­ders” of three English drug deal­ers in 1995, al­ready the sub­ject of Es­sex Boys (2000).

The cast­ing is as­tute, and Gil­bey demon­strates flair for stag­ing con­vinc­ing ac­tion se­quences on a low bud­get – so con­vinc­ing that the fre­quent vi­o­lence is star­tlingly graphic in a film pop­u­lated by re­pel­lent char­ac­ters and lit­tered with ex­ple­tives.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.