Lean slice of well-crafted slime, and an impressive debut from director Mike Hodges who'd impressed British television viewers with his earlier work for the BBC.
Jack Carter (Michael Caine) is a smalltime hood from London who arrives in Newcastle to arrange his brother's funeral. While preparing for the burial, he becomes obsessed with learning who murdered his sibling and why. Seeking out his brother's friends and acquaintances, Carter tries to question
them, but finds a wall of stony silence. Operating on a hunch, he follows a pennyante hood (Ian Hendry) to local crime lord Cyril Kinnear's (John Osborne) home and is surprised to find himself more than welcome. Before he leaves, Carter is warned to return to London before he causes any trouble.
He ignores the warning, and soon attempts are made on his life. After a narrow escape, he is rescued by Kinnear's girlfriend Glenda (Geraldine Moffat) and she takes him to her place. The pair make love, and, afterwards, while Glenda is out of the room, Carter discovers a porno film starring, among
others, his brother's young daughter.
Grim, violent, and stylishly directed, GET CARTER is an interesting film that brings some freshness to British crime cinema. Director Hodges immediately establishes his debt to the works of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett by showing Carter reading Chandler's Farewell My Lovely on the train
to Newcastle. While Caine would like to think of himself as one of Chandler's or Hammett's lonely avengers, he is really nothing more than a vicious brute with a warped sense of honor, trapped between the past and the present.
This theme is beautifully illustrated by the milieu of the film. Newcastle is a city in transition: the urban tenements are in the process of being displaced by cold, efficient high-rise structures that symbolize the increasingly businesslike crime world that has no place for violent mavericks
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