Starring: Ray Winstone, Glen Murphy, Giovanni Capalbo
Running Time: 92 Mins
Although Ray Winstone (THE DEPARTED, THE SWEENEY) is astonishingly convincing in the typical roles he is associated with, the cockney actor isn’t particularly well known for his versatility. I say this because LORDS OF LONDON is not a film you should watch to see something different from Winstone. However, it should also be said that LORDS OF LONDON probably isn’t a film you should watch if you are merely interested in the project due to Winstone’s name plastered across the DVD case.
This is due to the fact that despite the heavy marketing of Winstone’s involvement in the film, the actor only has a minimal part within flashback sequences rather than a starring role as the poster would appear to suggest. Of course this doesn’t make LORDS OF LONDON a bad film, but it should be noted that Winstone’s scenes are by far the most interesting parts of the narrative. The film follows a man named Tony (Glen Murphy) who wakes up to find himself in Italy with no memory of how he got there. Tony then meets a mysterious man named Francesco (Giovanni Capalbo) who appears to have knowledge about his arrival in Italy and how he can return home to London. Throughout the narrative Tony is haunted by graphic memories shown through flashback sequences involving both his traumatic childhood and violent adult life.
Winstone is featured in the scenes depicting Tony’s childhood in which he portrays his violent and abusive father. These scenes are effective in building interest and tension to compensate for the otherwise slow and uninteresting narrative featuring Tony. As the film progresses, the pacing starts to speed up, but the flashback sequences quickly become tiresome. This may be due to the film’s refusal to give the audience any information on the plot until a substantial amount of the overall running time has already passed. This will obviously lead to a number of people scratching their heads for too long before they decide the conclusion may not be worth their time. However, the overall reveal that comes at the climax of LORDS OF LONDON is surprisingly satisfying and and appropriate, if not slightly predictable. It is at this point that you begin to realise the film’s true meaning surrounding the sins of the father and the importance of not repeating the mistakes of the past. Overall viewers will be surprised by the sophisticated and interesting themes displayed within the film, although the narrative could show more character focus to avoid confusing the audience further than it already will.
Visually LORDS OF LONDON is also interesting to watch as director Antonio Simoncini displays incredibly skilled editing throughout the film. This is seen mostly in the opening prologue that takes place within a nightclub and also in the frequent flashback sequences. The exotic location of Italy is also put to good use early on in film in beautiful, colourful landscape shots that distinguish and contrast themselves from the murky, dull visuals seen for a large portion of the film afterwards. Overall LORDS OF LONDON is very enjoyable if you are willing to give the film the time for it to show you. The climax is more than worth the 90 minute wait and Ray Winstone helps ease the slow pacing of the narrative as the obvious highlight in a very different crime thriller.