26 March 2012

From Shuffle to Dead

In 1995, Robert De Niro was kidnapped and replaced by an old man with grey hair and a turd taste in films. I hoped that we’d get the original back before it's too late but unfortunately it's not looking good. In fact, I heard rumours that the police aren't even looking for him! Would Travis Bickle or Rupert Pupkin appear in New Years Eve? Of course they wouldn't which is why I know that the real greatest-actor-ever has been replaced by a fraudster. He's probably chained up in the same room Elvis died in, after he was taken and replaced by that fat impersonator who exploded up to Heaven like an angelic rocket of brown.

Every year, this money hungry, shoddy wannabe brings out another crappy film which results in me walking the streets and shooting at pimps to cheer myself up. What makes it worse is people constantly excuse him by claiming “It's not his fault, it's because there's no good roles out there for older men”. What a load of shit! De Niro's the greatest actor ever so even if there is fewer roles he's still guaranteed them. If he tried, he could play an albino cabbage with dildos for legs and a penchant for racism and it would still be the best performance of the year. For some reason though he just doesn't want to…

The truth of it is that there are plenty of good roles out there for old men, they just don't pay the kind of money that this greedy bastard charges. For proof of their existence just take a look at Michael Caine's current output; despite being well into his seventies, Caine has spent the last ten years churning out some of his best work. Certainly better than he managed in the Eighties, with the house funding Jaws: The Revenge being a particular low point.

Over the last decade, Children of Men, The Prestige and his role as Alfred in Nolan's Batman, movies have kept Caine off the streets and in our affections. Although memorable, these roles are all supporting characters- even if they offer a good chance to act, they won't satisfy a raging cash addiction quite as easily as being the lead in quality films such as Hide and Seek or Righteous Kill. Maybe De Niro is the best actor in the world but I can't deny I have a huge soft-spot for Michael Caine. I just watch him and wish I'd had him as a Granddad instead of the ones I actually got. They won't object to me suggesting he'd have been better than them because firstly it might be true and secondly they're both already dead.

Supporting roles aside, Caine has even managed to blag a lead part in a couple of quality films. My personal favourite of these has got to be 2009's coffin-dodger shoot-'em-up Harry Brown which tells the story of an old man at his wit’s end. Whereas most geriatrics get angry over the little things such as the price of stamps and being ignored by their family, poor Harry Brown has bigger things to worry about. He's an elderly gent living alone in a shitty flat, right in the centre of Cuntsville, London surrounded by gangs of violent yobs, drug dealers and other such cockney slags.

The film opens with the murder of a young mum as she pushes a pram through the park. That's not what's shocking however; what takes me by surprise is the first shot of Sir Michael as a lonely old bloke eating burnt toast whilst staring pointlessly into space. To say that the man is an institution is an understatement. Britain is a predominately shit country which is represented throughout the world by an outdated monarchy, which is depicting us as an undemocratic, anachronistic, fantasy convention. Thank God for Caine then, who has been doing his best to hold us all up as the Kingdom of Cool.

As the times move on, so too has he- travelling from the cheeky Charlie Crocker of the Sixties to the grim nihilistic Jack Carter of the Seventies. Regarding British Culture he is as much a part of our defining make up as The Beatles, James Bond and Jack the Ripper. Seeing him wash the dishes in his stripey pyjamas on a run-down council estate is the equivalent to finding footage of The Queen pole dancing to Rammstein whilst shooting blue milk from her tits and swearing like a bitch. It's unsurprisingly kind of jarring.

The youths around poor Harry are running wild with more guns per person than brain cells. With their psychotic and violent nature, it's not long until they kill Harry's one and only friend, Argus Filch. The police can't help and Harry's no longer got anybody to play chess with. But rather than doing the dignified thing of sitting in to watch countdown and await death with a giggle fit of excitement, he instead decides to be the one person who'll stand up for himself. Like a doddering Frank Castle or a rusty Rockatansky, he goes out and he tools up.

What follows is not only the execution of today’s out–of-control youth by an angry septuagenarian, but also the evolution of Michael Caine. As Harry progresses with his plan of hardcore-pensioner-punishment we see him transform from the vulnerable fogey to an older Jack Carter. It is within this arc that a similarity can be drawn to A History of Violence, with both films depicting the journey of a once innocent, kindly man as he begins to trickle out a murderous wrath that has been locked up inside. Although to be fair there is thankfully a lot less sixty-nine-ing in Harry Brown by comparison. That position at that age could cause a lot of confusion, particularly for people with loose false teeth and an inevitably baggy vagina.

As Harry casually wanders around offing all the nasty looking kids, the anger in the area begins to escalate. This culminates in a night time raid from the police who intend to arrest anybody on the estate sporting a shaven head and a track suit... so, basically everyone.

Admittedly the kick off in the ensuing fight-back is little more cowboys-and-indians than Mike Leigh but not in an unbelievable way. This chav-Braveheart is no more over the top than anything witnessed in reality, such as the Toxteth Riots or Avatar. Just because it's not going to happen until the future, doesn't mean it can’t be real, you pricks!

Don't get me wrong though, as much as I love this film, it isn't perfect. It's just an English Gran Torino or Death Wish-with-a-zimmer-frame and comes dangerously close to simply being both a fascist porno and viagra for readers of the Daily Mail. A sign of this films strength therefore is that it manages to rise above this to be an enjoyable slow burner that, for a change, places drama and emotion a lot higher than special effects. The closest thing to a stunt in this revenge fantasy is watching a seventy year old try to move at a speed so fast it reaches heights somewhere between shuffle and dead.

This is director Daniel Barber's first feature film and based on this I'm looking forward to witnessing his career unfold. Thank God he got a chance to make this movie before David Cumeron decided, in his wisdom, to shut down the UK Film Council. In 2011 Cumeron spent £680,000 of tax payer’s money on renovating Downing Street. In one year alone he used £21,293 of our cash to pay for his own personal mortgage. It's good that these twats are wisely using our money this way. I would hate for Cumeron to have shitty wallpaper or lumpy cushions as he decides that despite its importance and huge success, our Film Council can't be justified. I'd much prefer the cunt to be living in luxury than running a country that respects its film industry and takes pride in its cinematic output. Prick.

Every so often, a film will come out with a title character that couldn't be played by anybody else. Lost in Translation wouldn't work without Bill Murray, The Wrestler wouldn't work without Mickey Rourke and this wouldn't work without Michael Caine. Both Caine and Harry have spent significant time in the military and too much time living in grotty parts of London. Like giving lubed up ping-pong balls to a dutch whore, this film is a gift for his talent. Let's just hope someone gets the same for De Niro before it's too late. As a tip, he also likes his gifts with a side-order of $20 million. Anything less and he vomits his way back to Ben Stiller's Meet the Sellouts franchise. So God bless Michael Caine! When I take over the world, I'm replacing the Queen’s face on our cash with his. Then I'll use it all to pay for a detective to find the real De Niro…

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