Cast: Danny Dyer, Martin Kemp, Gary Kemp, Holly Weston, Eddie Webber
Running Time: 90 minutes
It’s easy to see why Danny Dyer has slowly risen in the ranks of cult and B-Movie cinema over the years. The cockney star has successfully won over legions of fans thanks to his down-to-earth demeanour and incredibly attractive accent. Unfortunately however, many will never allow themselves to see the talent that has been in front of their eyes for over a decade now. Of course, this is also (partially) due to the actors own personal decisions and choices in terms of his recent roles and performances. But I digress, as I fear I am beginning to descend into a debate regarding the social politics of British cinema…
With all that in mind, I should state now that this does not mean that Dyer is able to transform ASSASSIN into a quality production. In fact, the British crime drama bears all the markings of a low-budget London-thriller, produced almost entirely a shameless Eastenders cash-in. With both Martin Kemp and (of course) Dyer finding immense fame from our native soap, it’s no surprise that the film is positioned as a slightly edgier, feature-length episode. The gangster drama tells the story of a blood-soaked hitman (Dyer), who decides to take down the criminal underworld of London after falling for the daughter of their next target. The plot of ASSASSIN is as clichéd as it is simple, yet the film occasionally manages to display glimmers of hope through Amalou’s stylish directorial skills. Amalou manages to capture the grimy underbelly of our capital in a manner that is interesting enough to keep ASSASSIN’s visuals (slightly) unique at times.
However, it becomes increasingly obvious throughout the films 90-minute run-time, that Dyer is the only actor interested in delivering a genuinely authentic performance. ASSASSIN may carry all the characteristics of overtly bland, one-note British gangster drama (the Kemp brothers included), but Dyer at least attempts to add something deeper to this hollow affair. Although, it should be stated that the film’s typically bleak conclusion is surprisingly effective in terms of emotional impact. Whether this is entirely due to Dyer or some ounce of originality within the script however, is up for interpretation from the viewer. With that in mind, maybe it is poetically appropriate for ASSASSIN to resemble an Eastenders feature film, when it’s main star only reached his deserved level of appreciation from that very same BBC production.
Maybe one day audiences will discover the truth regarding Dyer’s career intentions, and whether he genuinely aims for the lows he reduces himself to, or whether he is just making the best of what he has been dealt. Either way, ASSASSIN probably won’t unlock the answer but it may provide some enjoyment for fans of British thrillers, East-end action, and poorly-written, one-dimensional gangsters.
[usr=2] ASSASSIN is available on DVD now.