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Outlaw - Review

Danny Dyer in Outlaw

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

NICK Love’s fourth film as director paints a grim picture of Blair’s Britain where yob culture reigns over a toothless criminal justice system and soldiers return from Iraq confused and disillusioned.

Yet while the subject matter is certain to strike a raw nerve with everyone from newspaper readers to policemen, soldiers and politicians, the film itself is let down by some appalling execution that ultimately blunts its potential to be taken seriously.

Outlaw focuses on a small group of individuals from different walks of life who turn to vigilantism when the law comes up short.

Led by Bryant (Sean Bean), a returning soldier who feels let down by his country, the remaining members are comprised of widowed barrister Cedric (Lennie James), frightened office boy Gene (Danny Dyer), scarred victim Sandy (Rupert Friend) and unstable security guard Simon (Sean Harris).

Feeding them information, meanwhile, is Bob Hoskins’ disgruntled cop who vows to keep them updated with details of “paedophiles, dealers, bullies, junkies” and crime lords.

But while their exploits capture the imagination of the public and spark a media frenzy, they ultimately become “outlaws” and are hunted by the police as well as the criminal elements they set out to eliminate.

Love’s film starts out promisingly enough and is loaded with volatile political comments, potshots at hoodie culture, racial tension and moral and ethical debates.

But it loses its way as quickly as its protagonists amid a rapid succession of shoot-outs and profanity.

By the time its “heroes” face off against police marksmen for the climactic shootout, the film’s potential to be taken seriously has vanished.

It’s a shame for much of what Love has to say is relevant and backed by the headlines we read or listen to every day.

But instead of allowing any time to explore its issues intelligently, Outlaw resorts to a thuggish, laddish mentality that’s more likely to appeal to the very people it’s aiming to cover in shame. Love, it appears, is not the right director to handle such sensitive material.

The end result is a film that aims at many targets but which ultimately shoots itself in the foot. It’s as hapless as the characters it depicts.

Certificate: 18
Running time: 100mins

  1. I think this article is rather inaccurate i found the film very realistic and hightly entertaining.

    remi    Mar 10    #
  2. I saw this movie yesterday and it has quite a profound effect on me. Whilst I take your point that Nick Love has failed to explore it’s issues I am not sure that Nick Love set out to explore the issues. I think his aim was to present us with what could happen as a result of the issues. Indeed the effect it has had is to provoke me to explore the issues for myself and think in more depth about how I feel about living in Britain today. I share some of the concerns aired by the main characters and in a way feel that I should do something but this would not be it. It was not a nice film to watch and I don’t like violence but on the other hand I am fascinated by it and I think this film has made me think about causes and effects. I would go and see it again and whilst this review concentrates on the theme of the film I thought the acting was excellent. I enjoyed the performances of all the actors and it was nice to see Bob Hoskins as a cop instead of a crime lord.

    Dee Vincent-Day    Mar 11    #
  3. I agree with this review. The film started well but was meandering, confused and actually pretty dull (with some awful script- especially Sean Bean’s ‘rousing’ anti-Blair etc speech). ‘Outlaw’ could explore some interesting issues but is a mish-mash of cliches and one-dimensional characters that the audience understands because we’ve seen them represented elsewhere rather than portrayed particularly well in this film. I was apprehensive about the level of violence in the film but ended up laughing as the whole thing was farcical. I reckon News of the World could use it as a call to arms in its next ‘anti-whatever’ campaign! Danny Dyer was good though.

    erin    Mar 16    #
  4. This film was such a disappointment, yet another good idea gone begging. Currently England seems to be full of hoodies shouting abuse, drunks looking for fights with anyone and about anything.
    The hardest part of this film was to see the guy being beaten up by 4 guys for giving a bit of lip. This was hard to watch because it's realistic. A shoot out with AK-47s in the New Forest is not.
    To see a guy being shot is not as hard hitting as a traditional punch up, as most people could be victim of this. The character development was as unevolved as a single cell organism. I wanted them to be beaten up more, which is not what the film really wanted.
    We all want to see hoodies get a slap from Mr Joe Public for how they wear their white socks and show a lack of respect but this film doesn’t deliver.

    J    Mar 21    #