The Long Good Friday

Nashville Scene

DIRECTED BY: John Mackenzie

REVIEWED: 07-14-97

Laserdiscs aren't just a movie-geek's indulgence; they're often the only way to watch movies that were ruined by careless presentation on home video. Years ago, if you rented this smashing 1981 gangster thriller on VHS, the muddy picture and murky sound probably made you hurl your remote at the screen. On laserdisc, the clear, letterboxed image and digital sound make all the difference. You can now make out the gritty look of London's underworld and the crackling lowlife rancor in Barrie Keeffe's script. In the role that made him a star, Bob Hoskins plays a London crime boss whose efforts to go respectable are upset by a sudden assault on his organization. Teamed with the elegant Helen Mirren as a sharp, sexy moll, Hoskins barks out threats with more bravado than any screen hood since the days of White Heat. And director John Mackenzie gives him a sendoff befitting a world-class tough-guy-- the look on Hoskins' face during his great final close-up is unforgettable. Stay with the confusing early scenes and the tangle of accents; this crime-drama is ultimately as blunt, unforgiving, and riveting as its bulldog hero.

--Jim Ridley

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