They will be known as “A” and “B,” which is
much simpler than Mr. Blonde and Mr. Pink. They are still just as lethal, if
not more so. They are straight-up hitmen, but their latest job was a set-up from
the get-go. The question will be who is playing whom in Neil Horner’s The London Firm (trailer here), which releases today
in the UK on DVD and VOD.
A has one rule: no killing women or children.
Usually, that leaves him plenty of scummy targets to safely accept, but it complicated
his last job for the Laurence Tierney-esque Mr. Fines. However, all will be
forgiven if he takes an extra special assignment. The first drawback will be
working with the young and brash B, whose style rubs A the wrong way. The
second drawback is the required transportation: the back of mini tractor-lorry.
This turns out to be a real downside when A and B wake up in the back of the
truck to find their employment broker murdered with B’s glossy magazine. It
seems someone wants something from one of the hitmen—and they aim to get it.
Of course, multiple twists ensue, some of
which are fairly clever. It also takes some surprisingly dark turns, but that
is sort of necessary to force certain characters’ hands. The confined lorry
setting creates a real rats-in-a-trap kind of atmosphere, but Horner cuts away
to the femme fatale henchwoman in charge of the operation frequently enough so
the audience does not feel trapped with them. In fact, the jumping around is a
little herky-jerky in spots, but not overly distractingly so.
Frankly, it all works pretty well as a gritty
noir, in good measure thanks to the under-heralded Vincent Regan. He is the
sort of actor’s actor you will see in big films like 300, but then goes back to punching the clock with recurring or
guest-starring work on British television. He has the perfect bloodshot look
and world-weary bearing for a principled antihero like A. Stephen Marcus and
Robert Cavanah chew all kinds of scenery as Mr. Fines, and his poker rival, Mr.
Hyde. Seb Castang is pretty dashed annoying as B, but that is how he is
supposed to be. However, the absence of Mem Ferda in a gangster film like this
is absolutely baffling.
If you enjoy gritty
London-based noirs, like London Boulevard, 44 Inch Chest, and the Pusher
remake, than London Firm delivers
more of what you like. It is also a good example why Regan has worked so
steadily since the early 1990s. A pleasantly overachieving little hitman
morality play, The London Firm is
recommended for thriller fans who happen to be in the UK, where it releases
today (10/26) on DVD and VOD.
Labels: British Cinema, DVD, Vincent Regan