Dead Man's Cards
In modern day Liverpool, washed-up boxer Tom (co-writer James McMartin) accepts a job on the door of a low-rent Liverpool pub alongside the principled but violent Paul (Paul Barber aka Denzil from Only Fools and Horses’). Things soon descend into beatings, gun crime, and an affair with the drug-dealing barmaid (Samantha Janus) and much macho posturing.
The debut feature from James Marquand, son of Return of the Jedi director Richard, Dead Man’s Cards is a competently handled thriller that gives a nod and a wink to John Mackenzie’s The Long Good Friday while relying too heavily on the jovial clichés of most modern British gangland thrillers. More Guy Ritchie than Shane Meadows, even though it overtly aspires to rank alongside the latter’s work (a bad guy is named Romeo), this quasi-western’s sharp photography and reasonably well-drawn central characters contrast unfavourably with clichéd scenarios and the ‘eccentric’ supporting cast. No extras.