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STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate 15
Cast
Tom Courtenay
Eileen Atkins
Clare Holman
Chris Eccleston
Paul Reynolds
Directors
Peter Medak
Screenwriters
Neal Purvis
Robert Wade
Running Time
118 minutes

Let Him Have It
At the time the case this film is based on became a cause celebre, the capital punishment wrought on Bentley a national scandal and now, it seems, a suitable subject for the director of that other tale of British villainy, The Krays' Peter Medak.


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Plot
With the four short words of the film's title - "Let him have it" - Derek Bentley, an epileptic 19-year-old with the mental age of 11 thanks to a childhood head injury, unwittingly - or so this film would have it - condemned himself to death and British legal history over the shooting of a policeman back in 1952. For it was these words, argued the prosecution in the infamous Craig/Bentley murder trial, which prompted Bentley's more worldly, younger and thoroughly rotten acquaintance, Chris Craig


Verdict
Let Him Have It is strongest in the human interest department and weakest as a thriller : Craig and Bentley's final rooftop shootout recalls the type of half-baked reconstruction beloved of CrimeWatch UK while their climactic murder trial has all the dramatic tension of serving jury service on a dog-fouling offence.


Reviewed by Phillipa Bloom

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