Eddy (played by Nick Moran) is a card-sharp living in London’s East End – here, for many of its inhabitants, crime is a just part of everyday life. Eddy’s about to play poker in a game at the establishment of porn king Hatchet Harry (by P. H. Moriarty). He and his three mates: Tom (by Jason Fleming), Soap (by Dexter Fletcher) and Bacon (by Jason Statham) pool the proceeds of their work (both “on the level” and “not so much”) to make up the stake. They know Eddy’s pretty slick at poker, so they’re onto a good thing here – but as it turns out Harry’s fixed the game. The upshot is that Eddy’s onto a loser and ends up in the hole by half a million quid – due back to Harry in a week, otherwise or Barry the Baptist (by real life villain, the late Lenny McLean) will track Eddy down and cut off his digits – one fleshy, blood-soaked finger at a time. Eddy and his mates have to come up with the readies in double-quick time. They hatch a plan that is simple – just as long as the drug dealers, ex-public schoolboys and assortment of lightweight and heavy duty criminals all do what they’re supposed to do ….
This is a really entertaining movie – it is fast-paced and each scenario has a clever link to the others, some are immediately obvious, the others come to light as the drama plays out … think Tarantino meets cockney villains, Elmore Lenard’s Chili Palmer and the infamous Kray Brothers … get the picture? The characters are colourful and the film has an expert balance of suspense and humour – it`s marvellous. At the time, a thrill for British audiences was to see their well recognised Wales intenational football star Vinnie Jones on screen, who plays Big Chris, Harry’s debt collector and a tough enforcer who always takes his young son (Little Chris, by Peter McNicholl) to work with him. There is also a marvellous cameo by Sting. The visuals may seem a little rough at the edges, but I forgive that because its a very low budget (less than 1 million pounds) production. It was nominated for several awards including the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) award in 1999 for Best Film. Well done, Guy Ritchie – take a bow for this stunning debut effort … which to me, has unfortunately never really been achieved by Ritchie since. However, this is a timeless piece of crime, thriller and comedy … enjoy.
Made in 1998. Directed by Guy Ritchie