Friday, August 22, 2008

On Your Todd

Was there ever any point in making another film version of The Sweeney? I only ask because, perusing the Variety website to see if there were any chuckles to be had from their review of Death Race, I stumbled across the news that Fox Searchlight has withdrawn its funding of DNA Films’ planned feature.

Certainly it would have some appeal on its home ground, where it still gives some people such a boner that they frantically rejig the formula into Life on Mars. But you can understand how Fox Searchlight could get cold feet, albeit last minute, doubting whether the feature would find an international audience without a major star to give it that extra push.

Obviously Ray Winstone cast as Jack Regan doesn’t do it for them, even after a meaty role in Scorsese’s The Departed and being wasted in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Nonsense. Who does that leave to take his place? Obviously a wan streak of piss like Jude Law would be as much use as a exotic species of shitfish, and an American in the role would simply lead to gnashing of teeth and rending of garments.

So that leaves the question, what is the point of a film of The Sweeney? Certainly, as Variety’s Ali Jaafar mentions, Ian Kennedy Martin’s drama was a seminal show in British television, virtually creating a new blueprint for the gritty cop dramas that would follow, although I’m exactly sold on it’s correlation to Miami Vice in the US. But since the 1970s, when there were two Sweeney movies released as the television show was winding down, there have been a good many cop shows that have successfully built on the template without feeling the need to wave their hands about, begging to be turned into a film.

Of course, in hindsight, perhaps it’s a shame that didn’t happen. Instead of decent crime thrillers, the past decade has simply seen the British Film industry squeeze out a succession of embarrassingly bad gangster movies on the back of guy Ritchie’s ADD-infused Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Nick Love, who was going to direct The Sweeney, seems to have made a career out of jumping on the bandwagon and turning out a succession of artistically-bereft, pointless and ultimately tiresome “fackin’ geezer” movies. Like Paul W.S. Anderson, he seems to be part of this new breed of British filmmaker whose turns behind the camera show no discernable talent.

The only good gangster film in recent years was Matthew Vaughn’s Layer Cake. Maybe, before DNA attempt to get the project back on its feet next year they could slide the script under his door. Then we could have Michael Gambon as Regan and, in the role they so far hadn’t manage to cast, Daniel Craig as George Carter, and that would be sorted.


At 11:48 am, Blogger Lubbert Das said...

-Just as long as Dennis Waterman sings the title track...

At 12:55 pm, Blogger Good Dog said...

Oh, I hadn't even thought about that. genius!


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