Cult Movies: Crime classic Get Carter back in cinemas and on Blu-ray in restored 4K form

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Get Carter

IN THE seedy world of the classic British gangster film, there are plenty of jaw-dropping central performances to savor.

Just think of Richard Attenborough’s chilling turn as the icy-hearted, child-faced thug Pinkie Brown in Brighton Rock (1948), Bob Hoskins’ proto-Thatcherite gangster Harry Shand picking up money in The Long Good Friday (1980) or the utterly terrifying creation of Ben Kingsley. , Don Logan, the hair-trigger gang leader in Sexy Beast (2000) for starters. All scary, all unforgettable, but none of these beautifully crafted characters, at least in my eyes, can hold a sawn-off shotgun to the majesty of Michael Caine in Get Carter.

Director Mike Hodges’ 1971 masterpiece returns to the big screen in a stunning new 4K restoration impression at QFT Belfast from tonight, and there’s never been a better time to rediscover yourself with the best hours and fifty minutes of British gangland on celluloid.

Caine is Jack Carter, an underworld enforcer who, against the wishes of his London crime bosses, decides to return to his hometown of Newcastle to find out what really happened to his mild-mannered brother Frank, who was killed. under mysterious circumstances.

What the sharp-suited hitman uncovers when he arrives up north is a dark tale of corrupt family loyalty, shady regional crime syndicates, and raw, bloody revenge.

Caine is simply stunning as a cold-eyed killer who uncovers the horrific secrets that led to his brother’s death. That famous Caine stillness is apparent throughout and he delivers both visceral and emotional scenes with seemingly effortless ease.

He’s ably assisted, of course, by a fine cast of British character actors, including Ian Hendry and playwright John Osborne, who work their way onto the screen as the soft-spoken northern crime lord Kinnear. – but it’s Caine’s movie from start to finish.

The crackling dialogue nails the wickedness at every turn, simultaneously funny, quotable and scary in equal measure. The management makes the most of mundane sets to bring us violent dancehall assaults and Western-style shootouts in deserted docks while wittily cutting to a close-up of a screw turned on a coffin lid so as awkward family conversations unfold. background. It’s a film that keeps turning the screw until its bloody final denouement.

Hodges ensures that the story, adapted from Ted Lewis’ hard-hitting crime novel Jack’s Return Home, unfolds at a breakneck pace, Wolfgang Suschitzky’s carefully crafted cinematography paints a picture of Newcastle before gentrification that is truly magnificent in a genre quite dark in its path, and Roy Budd’s unforgettable score turns into a snake in your head from the first moment you hear it.

The BFI did an excellent job on this Director approved restoration. It’s never, in all the many reissues it’s enjoyed over the years, looked so sharp and eerily glorious as it does here. A dark but beautiful study of gang violence and its aftermath, Get Carter remains a true masterpiece.

:: Get the Carter screens at QFT Belfast from tonight and is available on BFI Blu-ray from July 25.

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