Gangster No.1: More American Psycho Then Lock Stock


Written by Luke Barnes


An east end gangster, played by Malcom McDowell, recounts the story of his rise to power.

I thought this film felt very original and had a voice entirely separate from the early noughties gangster fare put out by the likes of Guy Ritchie. In many ways this film has more in common with American Psycho then it does Snatch and is all the better for it.

I thought the philosophy of this film and its comments on what it means to have it all where interesting and McDowell does a good job playing unhinged, although Paul Bettany who plays the younger version of McDowell’s character does out stage him on a number of occasions in terms of sheer fright factor.

Where this film was weaker for me was in the few instances wherein it was trying to replicate Ritchie’s style and have that same sort of tongue in cheek irreverent tone, that I think didn’t work. I think this film could have been better if it had played itself more straight and been more of a character study into the mind of a crime boss. Ultimately, I think the film should have leaned into its own voice more and stayed away from what was popular at the time.

Overall, a fun and interesting film when it is leaning into the warped psychology of a gang enforcer, less so when it is trying to rip-off Lock Stock.




The physiological spin  


The ending doesn’t land in a dramatic sense

It is trying to hard to be like a Guy Ritchie film at times   

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