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The Long Good Friday Review

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Shand's (Hoskins) ambitions are nearing fruition when he finds some possible New York financiers to make his dream of the London Docklands as a new Manhattan become real. However, there's the fishy smell of sabotage in the air as too many people around him start dying and things blowing up.

★★★★★

Director John McKenzie's Brit gangster classic remains a benchmark for the (recently much-abused) genre and a high point in the careers of almost everyone who worked on it.

It's strengths are legion: from Francis Monkman's wailing sax score, to some of the saltiest dialogue ever penned (gang boss Harold on his dead best mate being carted off in an ice cream van: "Well, there's a lot of dignity in that - goin out on a Raspberry Ripple!" Harold on La Cosa Nostra: "The Mafia? I shit 'em.").

But it's the performances that finally elevate this to classic, and indeed, must-own status. Helen Mirren's portrayal of a devoted wife trying to hold a collapsing world together is a standout; but it's Hoskins' towering performance as Harold Shand that gives the movie its ballistic and hubristic power.

Oscillating brilliantly between the preening and arrogant, Thatcherite, self-made thug and a desperate, beaten man, Hoskins has never been better. And the final shot, a sustained take on his face as he realises the true horror of his fate, is one of the finest pieces of acting in British cinema.

A benchmark British gangster classic with spot-on performances all round and a near wordless end scene that diplays some of the finest screen acting ever from Hoskins.

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