director William Monahan
London Boulevard was recommended by a friend. A sort of neo noir, it’s the story of man just released from prison, who comes back to the criminal underground that had made up his life before, and tries to take a path away from that former life. As these stories almost inevitably go, it’s a hard life to get away from, especially when all your old gangster buddies want to keep you in and don’t mind blackmail and murder to get their way.
Colin Farrell stars as the ex-con who winds up picking up a legitimate job as a caretaker and protector for a reclusive young movie star, played by Keira Knightley. I think that perhaps the way that this had come up was when I was discussing A Dangerous Method (2011) and how I had been surprised a bit by Knightley, who I’d come to truly disdain as an actress. Her part here is quite small, really. And she’s okay.
Farrell is a perplexing actor. It seems like everyone seems to agree that he can really act. He’s still a big name movie star. But he really has never made a “great” film. Watching him here, I was struck that he could be good in the right hands, in the right film, with the right director. Because he is good here in this decent, not particularly stand-out film.
Directed by William Monahan whose credits are mostly for writing, the film is mostly solidly decent. Ray Winstone shows up as the creepily affable but brutal villain. David Thewlis appears as a drugged out hanger-on (an interesting performance). It’s got a fair amount of fairly fair things. But it doesn’t add up to much. It doesn’t stand out for me even three or four days since I watched it.