A Very British Gangster
(15) 98min (Contender DVD retail)
A strange amalgam of fiction film devices and impressive access, Donal MacIntyre’s look at the life of infamous Manchester gangster Dominic Noonan is compelling viewing. As he follows the Noonan crime family over three years, we watch as Noonan helps the local community, threatens those he believes are giving him grief, and, possibly, bribing key witnesses and the members of the jury when he’s on trial for various perceived misdemeanours.
Playing almost like a cross between This is England and John Boorman’s The General, but more ‘underclass’ than either, the film may be a documentary but it has aspirations to be a fiction film, featuring a plethora of high angle and overhead shots, and a soundtrack crammed with Charlotte Church, Nina Simone and others, it even has Noonan telling a story that’s straight out of The Godfather, and a funeral that invokes Coppola’s film. The value of a film like this is another issue, and one worth an extended debate. Extras include a documentary on its making.