Outlaw

Movie Review by Neil Sadler

Starring: Sean Bean, Danny Dyer, Rupert Friend, Sean Harris, Lennie James

Director: Nick Love

Let me get this out of the way. OUTLAW is rubbish. You can forgive a film its faults if it is well meaning or has something of merit to say. It might have some good performances, be well filmed or show flashes of inspiration. It might even be so bad it is enjoyable. The only positive thing I can say about this film is that Danny Dyer’s character lives in a nice flat.

A group of disillusioned males, emasculated by a lawless society take the law into their own hands and become a group of fight-club vigilantes, pursued by the media and corrupt police. In intent, at least, there are some good ideas, but story doesn’t seem to know what point it wants to make. Are these men heroes? Are we meant to identify with them? Unable to answer these questions, it flails around for 90 minutes searching for a point.

Apparently this film is about the state of law and order in Britain today and how a group of people by taking the law into their own hands, end up corrupted by it. It is intended to be Nick Love’s most political film after his other “Guy Ritchie light” films – the FOOTBALL FACTORY and THE BUSINESS. Certainly there is a political message here although it is so confused that you wonder where he gets his politics from.

It is such a male-orientated world that women have no place in it. One is stabbed after two lines and another one’s only role is to look appalled and upset. The sub-plot (if you can call it that) involves the media and their glorification of the vigilantes but a couple of badly-filmed and acted scenes do not make a sub-plot and the message, if there was intended to be one, is lost.

The script is a mix of swearing and cliche. The acting is leaden and doesn’t stretch or do justice to any of the talent involved. Sean Bean plays a soldier, Danny Dyer a salesman and Bob Hoskins a down-beat policeman – not the most imaginative casting. These people deserve better than this garbled, politically immature nonsense.

Sadly even the directing is substandard. Action scenes are a mess and any possibility of tension in these scenes is soon lost in a jumble of jump cuts and poor angles. Love seems to not even have sympathy with his own material.

There are definitely ideas that I can identify with – but this film is so badly executed that I neither recognized nor sympathized with anyone in this film. Whatever the intentions of all involved, this sad mess of film has nothing intelligent to say.

1 out of 6 stars

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