I can't believe that this film had gone for so long without me knowing it was around. I'm a big fan of the crime/drama genre so when I stumbled across the fact it was going to be on some free to air digital channel at about one in the morning a couple of months ago, I thought I'd give it ago. In fact, I'd never heard of it before nor have I since. No one seems to know of it and it's a damn shame as this is a VERY underrated film, especially surprising given the fact John Hurt, Terrance Stamp and Tim Roth are in it.
The film deals with human interaction between a 'grass' from ten years back, a rookie gangster and an old-time gangster in almost superior form to many other films. The fact it takes a 'road movie' approach gives us more time to develop with the characters, as well as the characters themselves to do a bit of bonding. What follows is some fascinating dialogue between the three (and between a young Spanish girl on a lesser extent) and some very interesting relations building up. The stone cold presence from Hurt, the silent but 'you know he's up to something' Stamp and the, almost, 'comic relief' character in the form of Tim Roth all combine in a truly mesmerising mixture of events. I was glued to the screen.
The narrative also takes on a mysterious, almost multi-layered approach when talking about the police hot on their tail. The fact we never hear the detectives talk or any of the police communicate leaves us with a sense that we know what's going on but we're not actually there, almost as if the three male characters in the car are dreaming up the scenes themselves as to what MIGHT be happening at their last point of call if the police had yet arrived.
The action and dialogue is well spaced, even though the script is great anyway, and you truly struggle to work out what might happen next. The disturbing way in which Stamp seems to say nothing at all yet communicates with Roth like he's known him for years twinned with the fact panic hits him like a train later on in the film and he suddenly becomes a chatter box is an amazing juxtaposition which really adds to the experience.
Another attractive aspect of the film is the setting. This also acts as a juxtaposition as the beauty and heat that oozes from the screen really counterbalances the disturbing reality that Hurt and Roth's characters are there to 'get' Stamp and make him pay for his previous actions as well as the sadistic interior that makes up Hurt's character. You can't get too caught up in the setting which you only really see when the journey is being killed off, and you know that with every second that rushes by on the road; Stamp is apparently closer to his death - clever stuff.
The film is simple. The narrative is easy, there aren't too many characters to deal with, there aren't too many on screen distractions (unless you count the girl) meaning you have more reasons to focus on EXACTLY what's going on and although the film looks a little aged, I can guarantee it's thoroughly enjoyable.