Over the year’s I have found myself more than drawn to the work of English director & writer Simon Rumley. To me, his work has always been raw with a nice subtle injection of uneasiness. His work is more than often low-budget but he is able to get superior performances from anyone cast in his films.
Red, White & Blue starring Noah Taylor and Amanda Fuller and The Living & The Dead starring Leo Bill are just tremendous pieces of cinema. They are both completely different genres, one is about (RW&B) a relationship between a nymphomaniac and war veteran with PTSD; the other film about a young man with the mind of a child and severe suicidal tendencies locks himself and his dying mother in their large run-down mansion because he believes that he is responsible enough to look after her. Other work that Rumley released is Little Deaths and Fashionista.
Again, Rumely tackles a completely different genre with his English gangster biopic Once Upon A Time In London.
So, was it any good?
In short, yes. But there’s nothing separating this flick from the million other English gangster dramas that exist out there. If that is your cup of tea (excuse the pun), then you may enjoy Once Upon A Time In London.
The film itself had a real telemovie feel to it and that may put people off. In fact, I think this was a huge story with so much content that maybe it would’ve worked better as a 3-part series rather than a feature-length film.
The story is quite hard to follow and at times moves at a confusing pace. But there’s enough gratuitous violence around every corner to make you think “what was the point in that?…oh someone got cut in the face with a razor blade. Who cares”
If I somehow blinked at the start and missed that this flick was from Simon Rumely, I don’t think I would have made it through the whole film. As a fan though, he got my full attention and I am glad I did. Although not the most powerful flick with regards to consistency, it is definitely one of the more violent ones.
It’s being marketed as Peaky Blinders meets Legend – it really isn’t. The production value isn’t there to be like Peaky Blinders or Legend, but hey!…they do have British accents and razor blades. Also, Legend was shit too, so why would you wanna be like that?. To me, this had the rawness of Gangster No.1, which I don’t think is a bad comparison to make at all. Do you?
Watch it for yourself and make your own mind up.
Moviehooker Score: 6.5 Razor Blades Out Of 10