Movie Review by Susan Hodgetts
Starring: Les Falco, Victor Dark, Mickey Goldtooth, Danny Woollard, Roy Shaw
Director: Nicola Collins
“I don’t worry about the authorities. They worry about me.”
If that statement at the beginning of THE END isn’t enough to put the fear of God into you, this documentary features candid interviews with real-life gangsters from the East End of London and is inspired by director Nicola Collins’ own family background.
Nicola interviews her father, Les Falco, and his associates, who helped to construct a brutal underworld from the ashes of the war-torn and poverty stricken East End. We are introduced to such notorious figures as Victor Dark (armed robbery, conspiracy to murder), Roy Shaw (record breaking armed robbery, bare-knuckle fighter), Danny Woollard (armed robbery, murder, association with the Krays) etc. etc. A cast Guy Ritchie would be proud to call his own.
No prizes for guessing that the big theme of this documentary is violence, and in particular fighting. The cockney rebels talk about each other in almost reverential terms, insisting that some of the most brutal men imaginable are ‘good blokes.’ For them, it is a code of honour, a way of living, a matter of survival.
Also produced by Nicola’s sister Teena, the obvious intimacy and trust the two sisters have with their subjects allows for an eye-opening portrait, although for obvious reasons there are some things the gangsters are unable to admit to on camera. This is an impressive debut from first time filmmaker Nicola and nicely edited, but despite the interest and exceptional candour that Collins seems so effortlessly to wrangle, the film wanders and at times it feels as if there are questions left unanswered. Given the severity of the subject, the questioning was a bit soft.