Essex Boys - A cracking good thriller with some sizzling scenes

Last Update: 15 July 2000

13 July 2000

Source: This is Essex

A cracking good thriller with some sizzling scenes


ESSEX BOYS (Cert 18). Drama with Sean Bean, Charlie Creed-Miles, Alex Kingston, Larry Lamb.

102 mins. ECHO RATING: 8/10

When the hype, the location reports and the star appearances for Essex Boys are all over and done with, there is, you suddenly remember, a movie to be seen as well. And it's a cracking good one.

The film avoids Tarantino-style gangster-irony in favour of a fast moving thriller that drives with deadly purpose to the scene we are all waiting for ­ the moment in a snowy country lane that leaves three blasted dead bodies in a Range Rover.

The story is fiction, but it cleverly parallels the real life events that led to the Rettenon killings. It also sets out to provide a composite social picture of Essex at the turn of the twentieth century.

Anybody from abroad, or any sociologist wanting to get to grips with how the word Essex has become an adjective, could do a lot worse than watch this film.

Essex Boys rests on two of the oldest and most effective themes in storytelling - the innocent at large, and the femme fatale.

The innocent is Billy Reynolds (Charlie Creed-Miles) a cocky young cab-driver who takes on a job as driver to Jason Locke (Sean Bean), a violent criminal just out of jail. It is through Charlie's eyes we view the new, plush but lethal world of Essex criminals.

The femme fatale is Jason's wife, a hard-bitten role played for all its worth in an absolutely sizzling performance by Alex Kingston.

Lisa Locke has waited for her husband while he was in jail, but she has an agenda of her own. And, as well all know, you don't mess with Essex woman.

Essex Boys even manages to maintain an element of suspense and mystery. We know what is going to happen, but we don't know who it's going to happen to. Will Billy be one of those bodies?

The film has the feel of a huge hit. Its zestful use of locations and accents could even create a genre - the Essex-opera, perhaps.


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