In many respects a conventional thriller set in London's underworld, The Long Good Friday is much more densely plotted and intelligently scripted than most such yarns.
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Brutal and brilliant.
In style, the film’s ambition sometimes oversteps its ability, but it’s a rare London gangster film that has something to say about the city and says it with wit and little resort to bloodletting
Bob Hoskins gives a growly, charismatic performance as the kingpin brought low by phantom forces over the course of an Easter weekend, and there’s a political theme that asserts itself with nicely rising force.
Hoskins performance shows a man who clearly believes that he’s on the right side of history, and once this big, good deal is done, he will have atoned for past sins. The film is brutal in the way it conclusively proves him wrong, right down to its iconic final shot in which Shand sits in the back of a car struggling to settle on the emotion that would amply capture his frazzled state.
The Long Good Friday charts a perilous course through a world of powerful people, ghastly acts of vengeance and ominously shifting fortunes.
Hoskins’ bullish, black-comic Napoleonism makes this movie: pugnacious, sentimental, a cockney Cagney.
This movie is one amazing piece of work, not only for the Hoskins performance but also for the energy of the filmmaking, the power of the music, and, oddly enough, for the engaging quality of its sometimes very violent sense of humor.