Get Carter (1971)

Movie Title: Get Carter

Year Released: 1971

Rated: R

Runtime: 1h 52min

Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller

Director: Mike Hodges

Writer: Mike Hodges (Based on the novel "Jack's Return Home" by Ted Lewis)

Starring: Michael Caine, Ian Hendry, Britt Ekland, John Osborne, Tony Beckley, George Sewell, Geraldine Moffat, Dorothy White, Rosemarie Dunham, Petra Markham, Alun Armstrong, Bryan Mosley, Glynn Edwards, Bernard Hepton, Terence Rigby, John Bindon, Godfrey Quigley,

Review: When Jack Carter (Michael Caine) returns to his hometown Newcastle to investigate the circumstances surrounding his brother's mysterious death, the local mob thinks that they can easily deter him with threats of violence - but they would be dead wrong! Carter becomes a relentless force determined to get the answers he wants and stop anyone that stands in his way. So they better Get Carter before Carter gets them.

Let me just start by saying that Get Carter is awesome! I went into this movie completely cold and I loved every minute of it! Michael Caine gives a tour-de-force as Carter. He's a cold-blooded gangster that knows a cover-up when he sees one and has nothing but revenge on his mind. He's cool, slick, and nothing short of ruthless in his pursuit of making those responsible for his brother's untimely demise pay - and pay hard!

The movie has a rough-and-tough grittiness thanks to filming on location in Newcastle. Every location, actor, and scene feels authentic. Get Carter makes perfect use of its locations and makes the city one of the characters. There were times when I thought that Michael Caine was just beating up and verbally assaulting random extras. I really got caught up in the story and you will too!

Another fun aspect of the film is that all of the characters are shady; you never know who to trust. Caine's Carter is that way throughout the runtime and there are even times when you aren't too sure if you can trust him. And you get wonderfully memorable performances from villains, Ian Hendry and John Osborne, plus a phone-sex scene between Britt Ekland and Caine that was way ahead of its time. It's bad people doing bad things - and I loved every minute of it!

Something that really makes this British gangster picture a standout is its music. Roy Budd's score infuses Get Carter with a jazzy flavor that is not only cool, but, in a way, haunting. Budd's theme for the movie is perfection. It immediately sets the tone for this groundbreaking gangster movie. Seek out the soundtrack! I highly recommend it.

Oh, and how could I forget about the endlessly quotable dialogue. Writer/Director Mike Hodges' adaptation of the Ted Lewis novel is filled with cleverly memorable lines and exchanges that seem to escape most movies these days. From "A pint of a thin glass!" and "You couldn't run an egg and spoon race, Eric." to "You're a big man, but you're in bad shape. With me it's a full time job. Now behave yourself." and "Take your bra off." The dialogue is fresh, funny, and has a sinister edge to it. You'll listen to what's being said and what's not being said. Great stuff!

So if you like gritty gangster movies with a neo-noir vibe, visceral violence, a perfect jazzy score, and shady characters lurking all around then I think it's a bout time for you to Get Carter.

Stars (out of 4):

Fun Fact: In the first shot in the long bar, the second extra to stare at Jack Carter actually has five fingers and a thumb. It can be seen as he raises his glass of beer to drink.


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