It's strange for me seeing Michael Caine in a movie where he look so young. I always remember Michael as being perpetually old, like Tommy Lee Jones old. Anyway... Get Carter is about Jack Carter (Michael Caine) a man who's gangster first and brother a distant second. Upon going home to Newcastle to bury his brother, Jack Carter begins to suspect that his brothers death was no accident. Suspecting foul play, the ruthless London gangster sets about plying his trade in order to get to the bottom of what really happened to his brother.
Get Carter is a particularly grimy, gritty and unremittingly bleak look at post-industrial England and the atmosphere is almost tangible, it's a piece of British noir at its finest. However the cinematography felt really awkward in places, there were a lot of over the shoulder shots as if some huge guy just sat down in front of you in the cinemas. The pacing was slow, yet the tension was built up well and the pay off was worth it in the end, admittedly. Get Carter is not a flashy Scorsese pic and nor does it have the frenetic pace, swearing and hyper violence that a lot of modern British gangster flicks do, so don't go expecting that kind of gangster movie, it's a slowly paced character study of the reprehensible Jack Carter more than anything else. Many people accuse directors like Scorsese and Ritchie of glamorizing gangsters and their lifestyle, but Get Carter does no such thing, in fact, it's a damning indictment of the sort of people gangsters really are.
Instead Get Carter is a nihilistic and depressingly dreary look at not just the gangsters themselves, but post-industrial England as well, and how the gangsters exploited the working class after the hedonism of the swingin' 60s fizzled and did no one any favors, especially the working class, contrary to popular belief. There's a bit of social and political commentary there if you care to see it, but it's not as heavy-handed as other movies tend to be either.
Michael Caine turns in one great performance as the ruthless and cold-hearted Jack Carter, a man I'm sure many people will find sympathetic at the start, yet increasingly repugnant as time goes on, only to swing it all around near the end. There's a lot of shades and dimensions to Jack Carter. It's all a matter of perspective, but I don't think he was quite as bad as I've seen a lot of people say he is, still pretty fucking far from being a good guy though, and to think that I was beginning to lose interest in the first hour or so too. Get Carter is a slow burner, for sure, but it picks up tremendously in the last hour, so give it some time, soak in the cold Newcastle atmosphere and get ready for Jack Carter. The gangster Jack Carter, the real Jack Carter, as he takes care of business, and is also forced to question his own morality, albeit quietly.
Written by - The Sentry - 06/06/2015