Thursday, 8 June 2006

Essex Boys

All pics fer this post courtesy of

Seven days wi'owt cigarettes makes me smug.
Seven days wi'owt talking to Granny Weatherwax makes me want to smack the next fucker who gets in me way int street.
Seven days wi no e-mail from me sisters makes me wonder if England's been cut off from t'internet.
Seven days wi'owt beer makes me re-arrange me fridge and rediscover long-lost bottles of oyster sauce.
Seven days wi no new Sharpe book to read makes me watch old Seanie Beanie DVDs.

Speakin' of which, sat and watched "Essex Boys" fert first time t' other night. Fuck me, talk about a real sockdolager of a tale! Three words that sum up this film:
1. Brit-flick.
2. Underrated.
3. Cunt.

As much as Snatch or The Full Monty, this film shows two very British bowman's fingers to Hollywood, in that it's something they could never emulate. It's extremely regional and could never be translated. And it's ours. What it lacks in glossy cinematography it more 'n makes up fer in characters an story. And yet it's not wi'owt some great cinematography ~ right from't shot o't mudflats at the beginning to indicate isolation in more ways than one. Somewhere to take a grass to give 'im a good kicking, or a reflection of the protagonist's own isolation? Or just a bloody great wide-angle shot?

Why in the past perfect hell has this not become a DVD classic? The "before they were famous" faces, the subject matter, the fact that it's a strong English situational drama? Bearing in mind we've 'ad some right bollocks made recently, from Lottery money that could have been better spent on restoring Ealing comedies praps, this should get some promotion as a sleeper hit.

This word is here for two reasons – the character Jason Locke, and the man who plays 'im.
First off, the character is a complete cunt, and I definitely AM NOT using that word in an "awreight y'cunt, how's yirself?" genial Scottish greeting kinda way. Absolutely not. He rapes club girls, beats grasses, chucks acid over people, slaps his wife around and fucks over his mates. He's an ugly, ugly person who shoulda been put down like the rabid bestial lowlife that he were. But what goes around comes around.

Sean Bean, then, who plays this Jason Locke. He's also a cunt, but this time I DO mean it in a "awreight y'cunt, and how's yir good self?" warm Scottish greeting kinda way. To put it bluntly, he upstages everyone in this film, including the usually scene-stealing Tom Wilkinson and the formidable Alex Kingston. Bean's a bloody jammy sod, insertin' imself in people's subconscious by creating a character so vile he remains memorable long after the film's story has faded from recollection. And he does it so well. He has about three looks for "I'm coming over there":
1 ~ "and you're going to fuckin' regret it, pal"
2 ~ "and you've got two minutes to live" and
3 ~ "and you're going to wish you ONLY had two minutes to live".
He's a right scary fucker when he gets his threatening face on. Bloody unsettling, is that. And yet strangely compelling. Like a car-crash, you can't look away even though you're repulsed by the horror unfolding.

There were moments where his carefully-crafted accent slipped just a tad. It was a complete shock int beginning though – seeing as his character dunt speak for his first few scenes – to hear 'im come out with the whole "fargin-ell" darn sarff accent. "Shit!" I'm thinking, "he's a cockney git!" Which shoulda been obvious, seeing as how the film is set in an round Southend an Essex! But somehow it dunt seem like him at all. Again, score one for the jammy fucker, he's managed to appear far-removed from how most o the public sees him. Most people (English, that is) probably regard 'im as a meat-n-potatoes kinda softly-spoken Yorkshireman, a man whose quiet voice is hard to hear on a radio interview, a man who seems uncomfortable during TV interviews, who says only as much as he needs to, flashes that hyowj grin and then disappears back to the pub whence he came. So this larger-than-life, loud-mouth vessel of rage and hatred were more than a little unexpected. Fer anyone who's watched an episode o "Sharpe", the fact that he were such an 'ard bastard were no surprise, nor his ferocity, just his complete disregard for honour among thieves and wives.

Maybe that's what it comes down to ~ you can be as mean and despicable a man as you like, but if you still have a sense of honour then you're not evil, merely bad and salvageable. Yet this Jason Locke had none of this and deserved all he got ~ a completely irredeemable bastard. Given the chance, he wouldn't comprehend why he should be attempting redemption anyway.

The film's not wi'owt its flaws, but it ably overcomes these and I were left feeling like I'd witnessed something momentous. All-in-all, a great story (though convoluted at times) and for once, a strong, useful and in fact pivotal ["Pivotal, Sharpe, Pivotal!" ~ Prince William] female character that I actually liked and rooted for.

Wow, that were a review and a half! I know most people would disagree wi me, but I'm thinking maybe this could be one of, if not the, finest performance from Sir Sean of Bean. Of what I've seen, that is. But because of this, I will be looking up a few other of his films I've not seen yet.

p.s., in me neck o the woods, "bastard", "fucker" and "cunt" can be terms of affection. Otherwise why would I apply them to 'im?


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Chosenlass said...

Well dearie dear.....I loved your review of EB. I completely and totally agree with you on this, and I know we're in the minority. I know sooo many bean fans that love Jason Locke because he's "ahhhh....poor baby, he's just misunderstood." but that don't wash with me, girlie. He was a "right bastard" (and I mean that in the US sense!) and definitely deserved what he got. Sean, on the other hand, was so good in this that he made me hate him, if only for a couple of hours. I think this movie translates okay over here because we do get a lot of Brit telly and movies, at least on pay tv. But I say that, knowing full well that I am most likely missing 1/2 of what's going on. Again, thanks for the great review!!

granny w said...

i can't believe you've not seen it before! where have you been living little dragon - Button moon? i've had a fucked up cunt of a week and i too have been alcohol free till last night (when i received free alcohol)and now have to go to work hanging. fuck, fuck, bastard, fuck!!!!!
Shouldn't do it on a school


I am goin' t'have 't get a copy of this. Soon as n I'll tell yer what I think. Sounds bloody good t'me.

Soupdragon said...

Fucking crackin bit o Britich cinema ~ have to find the time to watch it again like. It's like Lock Stock wi'owt the jokes. Or nice people. Or coincidences. In fact, nothing like it then, LOL...

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