Now 10 years after it all began, Clarke returns to writer/director duties for Brotherhood. We find Peel a mellowed man, holding down four menial jobs to support his young family, comparing his body unfavourably to other men in the gym and, crucially, trying to stay out of trouble. Of course, it’s not long before trouble finds him.
The bad boy turned good dragged back in to the game is fairly well trodden turf in the gangster genre and Brotherhood fails to break much new ground – though Clarke brings his finely tuned ear for London’s very particular idiomatic dialect to an occasionally laugh-out-loud but frequently clunky script.
The occasional plot contrivance can be forgiven if the drama’s sufficiently compelling, but an over-reliance on the ‘nick-of-time’ trope too often stretches the bounds of credulity at the expense of dramatic tension. Clarke is a decent actor, but he consistently out acts his own film amidst a cast of hit and miss performances.
The film’s weakest moments take place in the grotesquely tasteless mansion of the main antagonist. Here, mute pneumatic women seem to spend their whole lives draped over the furniture in unconvincing statuesque poses and slimy gangsters speak with a sub-Guy Ritchie patter.
Nevertheless, moments of directorial flair, punchy one-liners and some fairly snappy editing help the whole thing zip along at an entertaining pace and it brings to a close a series that has achieved a rare thing in British cinema: a financially successful, independent trilogy.
A film that knows its audience, Brotherhood will please fans of the series with its familiar blend of genre ingredients, that, while not as fresh and exciting as its predecessors, is still thoroughly watchable fare.
|What||Brotherhood film review|
|Where||Various Locations | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Leicester Square (underground)|
02 Sep 16 – 02 Nov 16, Times vary
|Price||£determined by cinema|
|Website||Click here for more details|