Get Carter - Jack's Return Home
Poor Jack Carter (Michael Caine). I am sorry to say that this London based gangster is a really pissed off person at the moment.
You see, when Jack goes back home to Newcastle, to attend to his brothers Frank’s funeral, he finds out that his normally sober brother died whilst drink driving. Moreover, when Jack starts to investigate why his brother had died in such an uncharacteristic matter, two old pals of his, Eric (Ian Hendry), and his northern gangster employer, Cyril Kinnear (John Osborne), become somewhat dubious of Jack’s presence within their 'manner'. Worst still, Jack suspicions are amplified even more so later that very same day, when he is told to ‘go home’ by a couple of rival henchmen, whom are in the employ of business magnate, Brumby (Brian Mosley).
So what do you think that Jack does in turn, huh? Walk away? Fat chance. Instead, Jack fights back. One by one, plowing his way through the Newcastle underworld, with the intent of finding out the truth behind his brother's demise.
Granted, word about what Jack is up to does reach Jacks boss's in London, and they too try to steer him back home as well. But this does not really work within the scheme of things. Oh no. These southern goons are left with their tails hanging in-between their legs, and bemused expressions upon their soppy faces.
Thankfully, over time, Jack manages to discover the eventful truth about these strange goings on. And again, one by one, he does whatever he has to do, to the people associated with these ghastly events. You know the type of thing. He shoves b*stards off of tall buildings. He threatens thugs in a threatening way. He strangles stranglers with savage intent. He stabs sods who sodomize saints. He shoots saps who swallow sea. And he poisons prat's as well.
Still, I suppose that is why what next transpires is a right dark and depressing state of affairs all in all. As gambits and played - arrests are made - revenge is sweet - and death is difficult to cheat.
'Get Carter' is a classic piece of British cinema that has it all. Fighting. Shooting. Implied sex. A story-line that you can follow. A location steeped in history. And Michael Caine threatening two gangsters with a hand-held weapon... err... two hand held weapons, HA!
You see, to me, this is one of those films that can do no wrong if you’re a fan of seventies crime-drama, no nonsense story telling, and things that are typically British. Here, look at the facts for a brief lowdown on this flick: (1) According to the director, Mike Hodges, he had Ian Hendry in mind to play the part of Jack Carter before Michael Caine came on board. Moreover, when Michael eventually agreed to take this role, Ian resented him for this fact on set. (2) The studio wanted Telly Savalas to play Brimby. Telly didn't. (3) This picture was voted the top British film in the 'Total Film' 2004 film poll. (3) This was the first cinema film for composer, Alun Armstron, and the first feature for Mike Hodges too. (4) The multi-story car-park in this film was halted from being demolished due to its association with this movie. (5) Michael Caine met the real Jack Carter not so long after his film was released. Jack did not like it because he stated that he had no family in real life. Michael reluctantly agreed. (6) This movie was recorded in 40 days. (7) There were two English speaking versions for this film made. The English version and the American version. The American version was made because the producers thought that the American audience would not understand the Cockney accent. (8) The sniper at the end of the film is sitting opposite Michael on the train at the beginning of it. And (9) This movie was based on Ted Lewis' 1969 novel 'Jack's Returns home'.
To me ,on a certain level 'Get Carter' reminds me of a funky Sherlock Holmes story. Though you have to replace all those Elizabethan twats with dangerous Cockney gangsters with dodgy accents. Whilst, on another level, this movie also reminds me of an art-house piece too. Because it has this rather nifty way of cross cutting two scenes together, jarring the viewer perspective to what’s happening now / next and for why. Also, I have to mention that these two components are aided greatly by the nourish film score and the assembled cast, all of whom steep this movie in British filmic history.
Now I have to give kudos to the governor himself, Michael Caine, because he is especially captivating in this film with his usual understated way. He truly makes Jack a real force to be reckoned with, no matter what situation he is placed in, or what the odd's against him are.
Oh! And while I’m on the subject of place – Newcastle – what a location! It’s as though it has erupted form the bowel’s of the earth, setting this film in all its quaint and rustic glory. Heck, if this film was based anywhere else, it would have been a different film altogether. But instead it has given us a landmark British cult gangster film that still holds up to the test of time. Just look at this...
A true all time classic.
THE RATING: A