|London Boulevard (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
In a nutshell, its all over the place. Oscar winning screen-writer William Monahan (The Departed) makes his directorial debut here and, unfortunately, he fails to bring any of his previous work's cohesion to this Brit-gangster pic. The film follows the comings and goings of ex-con Mitchell (Colin Farrell) as he struggles to go straight. Soon after his release from prison, Mitchell is hired by a celebrity named Charlotte (Kiera Knightley) to protect her from the paparazzi. Mitchell's attempts to stay on the right side of the law and his association with Charlotte leave him out of favour with local ganglord Gant (Ray Winstone).
If that plot summary seems to lack a narrative drive, its because that's exactly what the film struggles with the most. Watching a former criminal go straight is a good start, but there needs to be more to it than that. Michell's relationship with his sister (Anna Friel) is boring and lacks focus, while David Thewlis' stoner is bearable but given little to actually do. To go with his poor story, Monahan also wastes his enormous - it must be said- talent pool. Winstone is the only highlight of the film and he fails to make an appearance until fairly late in proceedings, despite being crucial to the story. Actors like Eddie Marsan and Stephen Graham are given such little time its a miracle they even appeared on set. And Kiera Knightley manages to make her performances in the Pirates of the Caribbean series look award winning.
Wasteful scripting and direction, then, turn London Boulevard into a loss for Monahan, hopefully his next will see him return to The Departed style form.