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Outlaw (2007) Dir. Nick Love. Odeon Hull

A group of people who feel betrayed by their government and let down by their police force form a modern-day Outlaw Posse in order to right what they see as the wrongs of society….

This the third Nick Love film I have seen following The Football Factory (2004), which examine the genesis and motivating factors behind soccer violence, and The Business (2005) which is like Sexy Beast set in the Eighties.

Both films I would label “promising” as they are action films which deal with issues of social and personal morality.

Outlaw, on the face of it synthesises these threads through the genre of Action Thriller.

Sean Bean assembles a squad of disaffected Citizens who have suffered at the hands of petty thugs and bullies, and seek to wreck revenge upon their tormentors with the help of Bob Hoskins, a Flying Squad Bagman who always gets passed over for the tasty jobs.

Bean is what you’d expect and does it brilliantly, and he is at his best flashing his muscles, waving firearms around and generally causing mayhem.

Nick Love regular Danny Dyer features heavily, and I’m inclined to say he is a bit one dimensional in the roles he is cast in and this one doesn’t add to the “versatile” claims for his CV.

I enjoyed Lennie James immensely in the C4 Drama Buried, scandalously canned after only one series, and here James has tough decisions about whether to cross the line from his role as a brilliant and successful QC.

“I can only say I found it ugly, naive, and deeply unpleasant: crime-revenge-porn without any style or wit or convincing narrative: another parade of white-geezer cockney crime chic.”,

ran Peter Bradshaw’s review in the Guardian, which made me smile as I remember thinking that one of Bean’s few speeches would upset the uptight PC lefty Liberal Brigade.

He goes on to say; “

If this movie triggers a rush to the recruiting offices, some grim-faced sergeant will have to explain to the young wannabes they are not allowed to take weaponry home with them". Such a crass statement just exemplifies his own patronising contempt for Working Class people, and the stupid Public School London Media view of the Lower Orders as needing saving from themselves.

The film has been branded Right Wing, immediately putting Love and Dyer on the back foot.

I would ask the ne’er sayers to respond to two points;

Did you like Bean’s character?

Make a list of character flaws as portrayed by Dyer, and then see if you think Love is “glorifying” violence.

Not a great film, but by no means a bad one, and if it sparks debate about the effectiveness of the Justice System then it’s worth it for just for that.

As for Love making a Very Good or Excellent film, the ingredients are there. Time to deliver.


About dermotrathbone

Writer and co author "Through Red Lenses". Activist Unite the Union, Save Our NHS Hull. Fan of Yorkshire County Cricket Club, Hull FC, Munster and Ireland Rugby. Views are mine alone and may not reflect the organisations concerned.


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