Rise of the Footsoldier (12A)

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The Independent Culture

You may recall the shotgun murder of three men in a Land Rover down Essex way that made headlines in the mid-Nineties. It was turned into a very feeble movie called Essex Boys, with Sean Bean, and damn me if they haven't gone and made another one about the very same incident.

Julian Gilbey's film starts out as A Yob's Tale in which a Seventies football hooligan (Ricci Harnett) graduates to an Eighties nightclub bouncer and thence to a Nineties drug baron in the Essex badlands. This chronicle of brutish violence doesn't exactly glamourise criminality – it's too seedy and depressing for that – but it does appear to regard it as worthy of respect, which is possibly worse.

The only point of interest is to see how far Gilbey will go in his tribute to GoodFellas. The three-decade span, the narrative voiceover, the gloating scenes of torture, the freeze-frames all tell us: too far.

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