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Essex Boys (UK) (DVD Details)

Unique ID Code: 0000020053
Added by: Jason Newington
Added on: 11/8/2001 17:35
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    Review of Essex Boys

    7 / 10


    When I read the back of the DVD case I was intrigued. The film makers have taken a news story, the Rettendon Rang Rover Murders, and used it as their inspiration for a movie. It’s an interesting approach as it basically tells you what`s going to happen and whilst they do point out that the characters and story are all fictional you find yourself wondering if it really is all make believe.

    Essex Boys is best described as a British Gangster movie which avoids the temptation of becoming another “Snatch(ed from the same script as Lock, Stock)” wannabe. Don’t get me wrong, I found “Lock, Stock . . . “ highly entertaining but the world must think that British criminals are all cockney-speaking morons who screw everything up. This gritty take on the Essex underworld will certainly put them straight.

    I was a little put off by the fact that this is a “Granada Films” production, movies made by studios famous for TV series tends to make me think ‘straight to video’ with all the lack of production values that usually means.


    I wasn’t expecting great things of the image due to my afore mentioned aversion to films made by TV studios however this one wasn’t as bad as I expected. It’s no award winner and it’s the first non-anamorphic disc I’ve watched in a long, long time but the picture is clear with little or no sign of grain.


    The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is only really used to good effect when there’s music playing, then the soundstage is large and vibrant. Outside of that the use of the surround channels is very weak and the soundstage is anchored firmly to the centre speaker, much too firmly for my liking. The quality is fine with clear and concise dialogue and deep bass when needed but as I said before it’s only really the musical moments that show off the benefits of 5.1 sound.


    Wow, a theatrical trailer! Apparently this was based on a true event so some background information or media coverage to fill you in on the actual event would have been terrific, shame.


    As I mentioned earlier this movie is inspired by a true event and the rest of it is a work of fiction. It’s testament to the skills of all involved that you do actually wonder whether any of it could actually be true. The story is told largely from the point of view of Billy (Charlie Creed-Mills), a young lad hired to drive around Jason Locke (Sean Bean). He sees everything and with some interesting narrative it offers a very plausible way into their world. As he gets deeper and deeper into the Essex underworld the story picks up pace and builds towards a satisfying ending, having passed through a few interesting plot twists along the way.

    The engaging story is backed up by solid performances from the leading characters with Sean Bean in particular showing that he has bags of talent as the phsychotic Locke. Alex Kingston is also excellent as his long suffering wife Lisa.

    The film makers should be commended for avoiding the more uncomfortable aspects that so many of these types of movie tend to include, you know the moments of gratuitous violence where you see far more than you wanted. I call them uncomfortable moments because that’s how they make me feel, you know the sort of scene that makes you want to look anywhere else but your TV screen. Moments such as those rarely do anything to enhance a film and are often just added for shock value so it’s nice to see them missing from this movie.

    British movies to date haven’t really inspired me to be perfectly honest but Essex Boys really hit the mark. Right from the initial premise the movie is intelligent and going places. It’s a movie that will make you think, you know what’s going to happen at some point and it keeps you constantly entertained trying to work out how you are going to get there. By telling you how the story is going to end up you are hooked as soon as you start watching. There are some surprises along the way as well but I won`t say any more about them.

    It’s not an impressive DVD package however the movie is great entertainment so if you fancy taking a chance on a lesser known release I’d definitely recommend having a look at this.

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