Film review: The Long Good Friday (18, 111 mins)

The Long Good Friday
The Long Good Friday
Share this article

Hoskins shines in classic British gangster film

A thoroughly merited re-release of John Mackenzie’s seminal 1980 gangster flick, starring Bob Hoskins in his first leading role.

Harold Shand, a gangster with dreams of business respectability, entertains the rich and powerful and has several heavyweight political figures in his back pocket.

During negotiations which would form an unbeatable Anglo-American criminal underworld stretching across the Atlantic, Harold comes under attack from a shadowy syndicate, which begins to systematically blow apart his business empire ruins.

Shocked and surprised anyone would dare challenge his authority, Harold marshals his forces to learn the identity of his rivals, and exact a terrible and bloody revenge.

The Long Good Friday boasts one of Hoskins’ best performances as the entrepreneur-turned-gangster struggling to keep in check his volcanic temper.

When Harold does finally explode, he is nothing short of terrifying.

This powerhouse portrayal of a fallen angel, undone by his own arrogance, is complemented by Helen Mirren’s delightfully sexy and intelligent girlfriend.

Throw in a vibrant score which builds ominous rhythms, one on top of another, as the threat of bloodshed and retribution escalates into all-out carnage, and you have a film which ranks as undoubtedly one of 20th century British cinema’s most visceral and compelling films.

Thriller | Selected cinemas

Star rating: 9.5/10