The Criminal

The Criminal


Reviewed by: Nicholas Dawson

Jasper (Steven Mackintosh) picks up Sarah (Natasha Little) in a bar, they go back to his flat, but before they can become too intimate, the flat is broken into and Sarah brutally murdered. Grumpy middle-aged detective Walker (Bernard Hill) and his assistant White (Holly Aird) arrest Jay, convinced that he is the guilty party.

No messing about: along with Christopher Nolan's Following, The Criminal is the best British thriller of the year. Like Nolan's film, this is a debut which uses unconventional time structures to tease, mislead, and greatly entertain the audience.

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The film really grabs you, the blistering first 20 minutes demanding your attention and admiration and never letting go. The real strength of the film is its script, which is serpentine and elliptic to the extreme, entirely gripping and full of wonderful, drily witty dialogue and original, and often very funny, characters.

The dark and grimy London underworld of the film's setting is well captured by Nic Morris' slick photography and the acting is uniformly good, with Hill particularly impressive as the foul-mouthed, narrow-minded copper.

The film does stumble slightly with the introduction of the "international conspiracy theory" angle, and rather annoyingly fails to tie up a few loose ends. That said, these are slight criticisms of a clever and highly entertaining film.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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The Criminal packshot
Man is arrested for a murder he didn't commit in this gripping British thriller.
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Director: Julian Simpson

Writer: Julian Simpson

Starring: Steven Mackintosh, Eddie Izzard, Natasha Little, Yvan Attal, Holly Aird, Andrew Tiernan, Jana Carpenter, Justin Shevlin, Barry Stearn, Bernard Hill, Norman Lovett

Year: 1999

Runtime: 98 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: UK


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