Outlaw - Review
Review by Jack Foley
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.
Running time: 100mins