Sunday, February 5, 2012

#538. The Long Good Friday (1980)

Directed By: John Mackenzie

Starring: Bob Hoskins, Helen Mirren, Dave King

Tag line: "Who lit the fuse that tore Harold's world apart?"

Trivia:  The part of Harold Shand was written specially for Bob Hoskins

Resting comfortably at the top of London's criminal underworld, Harold Shand (Bob Hoskins) has always been a man in control of his own destiny. Two days before Easter, that will all change. 

As head of a large organization, Shand's amassed a great deal of wealth, and both he and his longtime girlfriend, Victoria (Helen Mirren), are living the high life. Harold's even laid the groundwork for a new undertaking, one involving the American mob, which will make him more money than he could possibly spend in a lifetime. Then, on Good Friday, his world starts to fall apart. A hidden bomb blows his expensive Rolls Royce to bits, and his good friend and business partner, Colin (Paul Freeman), is murdered while out swimming at a local spa. All at once, Harold must deal with the fact someone’s out to get him, and he has no idea who, or why. 

Bob Hoskins is solid as Harold Shand, the gangster someone has targeted for extinction. Early in the film, Harold's on top of the world. Whether planning a party for his new American “friend”, Charlie (Eddie Constantine), or currying favor with local politicians, he remains a strong, upbeat individual through the first half of the movie. But the tension mounts as things unravel, presenting Harold with many questions he simply cannot answer, Who’s after him? Is it the American mob? His second-in-command, Jeff (Derek Thompson)? Maybe even Victoria? As The Long Good Friday wears on, Harold goes from a man brimming with confidence to one suspicious of everyone around him, and Hoskins doesn't miss a beat with either extreme. 

The Long Good Friday conceals its central mystery through most of its running time, keeping us as much in the dark as poor Harold. Eventually, we're just like he is: suspicious of everybody and frustrated to the point of distraction. But trust me when I say you’ll want to ride that frustration out, because while the questions surrounding The Long Good Friday will keep you guessing, its ending will leave you positively stunned.


Unknown said...

I will certainly have to check that out. I've always been a fan of Hoskins, he's always been a solid actor.

DVD Infatuation said...

Doug: Thanks for the comment! And definitely check out LONG GOOD FRIDAY. It's one of Hoskins' best performances!