13 July 2000
Director: Terry Winsor
(Starring: Sean Bean, Alex Kingston, Charlie Creed-Miles)
"Fackin' cant! Arm ganna fackin' kill yer, yer fackin' cant!" Bish, bash, bosh! Yawn. Given the recent spate of atrocious British gangster flicks, you'd be forgiven for dismissing Essex Boys as yet another unnecessarily vicious celebration of the sawn-off shotgun and the pinstripe suit. It isn't.
Inspired by a real-life incident, when, in the mid-'90s, Essex police discovered three bullet-riddled male bodies in a Range Rover in a country lane. Essex Boys is a sweaty and unflattering introduction to the mock Tudor, champagne'n'coke wide-boyisms of Southend's psychotic criminal gangland fraternity. (These aren't so much characters, as a bunch of remorseless, sneering c--s.)
Entering gingerly but competently into the
underworld's traditional web of deceit is narrator Billy Reynolds
(Creed-Miles), a young taxi driver who becomes a chauffeur to
(the excellent) Sean Bean's sickeningly vile
and vengeful playboy, Jason Locke, and whose initial enthusiasm is roundly crushed under the weight of so much drug-dealing, ugly torture and smart double-crossing. As events spiral out of control, leading to the aforementioned pivotal scene, the sheer nastiness will have you squirming in your seat.
This is not for the faint-hearted: Essex Boys is an amphetamine jolt of uprush cinema. Commendably twisted. 8/10
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