London loan shark Tony Lord, Italy is light years away from the world he knows.
He is in Abruzzo, not Naples. How he got there is a mystery to him. Frankly, he
sort of has an inkling but he would prefer to ignore the dramatic implications
in Antonio Simoncini’s Lords of London (trailer here), which releases
today on DVD from Lionsgate.
Lord inherited his father’s trade, even though the old troglodyte never took
much interest in him. We will witness his dysfunctional formative years through
Lords, fils’ many flashbacks. He will have some time for meditation whether he
wants it or not. After getting shot by one of the many people he did wrong,
Lord wakes up soaked in blood, but otherwise none the worse for wear in
dilapidated villa outside a ridiculously picturesque Abruzzo village apparently
stuck in the 1950s.
to his consternation, the entire village ignores him, except for the
twinkly-eyed Francesco. The café owner is concerned the English punk his
daughter has been seeing is no good, so he asks Lord to keep an eye on him. Unfortunately,
the displaced gangster more than confirms Francesco’s suspicions.
now you probably have a good guess just who everyone really is and what their
relationships to each other are. That means you are exponentially quicker on
the up-take than Lord. Yet, for some reason Simoncini insists on nursing his
transparent secrets until an anti-climactic third act reveal. Arguably, the
film might have been more effective if it had laid all those cards on the table
rather than pretending to fool us.
as director and screenwriter, Simoncini somewhat bungles the light fantastical elements,
inadvertently creating a scenario where Ray Winstone’s Lord Sr. presumably ages
about three or four decades in the span of five or six years. Maybe that would
be possible during Callaghan’s Winter of Discontent, but not the swinging
Macmillan years when he appears to be prowling about.
the other hand, the ancient village and surrounding countryside look amazing
thanks to cinematographer James Friend, who gives it all a classy chiaroscuro-like
glow worthy of the Old Masters. Similarly, Giovanni Capalbo (whose wildly
diverse credits include both Mel Gibson’s The
Passion of the Christ and Abel Ferrara’s Napoli, Napoli, Napoli) is quite the old Zen charmer as Francesco.
He also manages to maintain some sense of mystery regarding what his character
is up to. Glen Murphy is also pretty solid as the rather dense Lord, the sort
of hardnosed role one could easily imagine Craig Fairbrass assuming. However,
Ray Winstone is a surprisingly let-down as the elder Lord. All snarl and no
swagger, he just doesn’t seem to be having fun with it.
Simoncini is going for the vibe of warmer,
fuzzier Richard Matheson, like Somewhere
in Time and What Dreams May Come.
He doesn’t consistently pull it off, but earns credit for trying. At least it
always looks great. Recommended for anyone considering an Italian vacation, Lords of London releases today (9/1) on
DVD and digital from Lionsgate.
Labels: British Cinema, DVD, Ray Winstone