[box cover]

The Long Good Friday: The Criterion Collection

United Kingdom audiences are bound to be more familiar with this 1980 gangster classic than Americans, but this new disc from Criterion should gain the film a few yank fans. East End mob boss Harold Shand (Bob Hoskins) is about to cut a development deal with a Stateside investor, but just before signing off, a number of his lieutenants are executed one by one, causing Shand to brutalize the London underworld in search of a rat. Hoskins, in his breakthrough performance, dominates The Long Good Friday with a brilliant mixture of humanity and menace. Helen Mirren (always dependable) plays Shand's mistress and confidante, and director John Mackenzie handles the story with an even pace. The final shot (an extended close-up of Hoskins) is simply phenomenal. Also, keep your eyes peeled for a young Pierce Brosnan in a small role as one of Shand's mysterious antagonists. Great transfer from an equally good source print, Dolby 1.0, UK and American trailers. However, the lack of English subtitling may encumber the Cockney-challenged on first viewing. Stick with it anyway.
—JJB



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