Sunday, 13 January 2013

Get Carter 2000 remake

One of my favourite films of all time is Get Carter, a dark film set in Tyneside. Until last night I resisted the temptation to view the 2000 USA version of the 1971 film. It was not as bad as I feared because it attempted to retain the main characters and the central plot.

Jack Carter played by Sylvester Stallone returns home for the funeral of his brother with whom he has had  no contact for a number of years. He is father of his brothers daughter. Jack is convinced his brothers death is no accident and his suspicions are fuelled when everyone he meet presses him to go back to where he works as an enforcer from a criminal gang. His boss is also keen for him to return, in part because of information that Jack is having an affair with his bird. Almost by accident Jack discovers the truth. His teenage daughter of around sixteen years was the subject of a filmed sexual seduction which has been shown at one the parties of a local villain. Jack then embarks on a revenge which sees a number of people killed. In the original work a contract on Jack is successful completed to end the film.

The 1971 film pushed the boundaries in several ways revealing on screen phone sex which was later translated into Internet sex, first verbal and then visual and audio. It also revealed he links between London and  North East Crime which became one of the core features of the Film and stage Drama Our Friends in the North which also  involved local political corruption. In the original film there is an important scene when local personalities are involved in a  house party  at the home of the local crime boss which includes   excessive  drinking and drug as well as sex and which was also a featured in the film Oh Lucky man and the book and film Room at the Top although set in other parts of Northern England.  The extent to which personality, including the police “enjoyed” watching pornography  collectively was also a revelation at the time together with the exploitation of vulnerable young women in which in effect was the heyday of the Jimmy Saville, rock and pop sexual cultural revolution brought about by the Pill and swinging sixties. Most of all it portrayed professional criminals  factually in terms of their brutal violence towards each other after which professional criminals and street police were portrayed mainly as morons or to provide comedy such as The Lady killers, The Lavender Hill Mob, In fairness Jack Warner and the Blue Lamp had attempted to redress the imbalance for street police.

This version of Get Carter I was confused by the roles of the villains with the same names as those in the original production. The relationship between Jack and the woman of his boss is different. There are no plans to go off to Brazil for a new life and she backs out of the relationship as soon as the affair is brought to the attention of the boss. The henchman of the boss come for jack as much because of the affair as a request from villains in the home town. There is no contract placed on Jack’s head.

His brother is also still happily married whereas in the original story, the marriage broke up and  the brother has a sexual relationship with a tart who does not carry out the role of a mother and in fact was instrumental in the girl being seduced and appearing in a porn film. In the original the girl appears a willing participant in the film and behaves normally afterwards Whereas here she is  drugged, raped and has no recollection of the specific accept feeling physically abused and full of guilt. Revealing what happens to Jack is cathartic and later  she and her mother comfort each other. In the original film Gloria  now the wife, is taken to the grounds of the local villain leader, undressed and given a  lethal dose of drugs to the incriminate local villain after the police have been called and the  house party raised in the dawn. Gloria is played by Miranda Richardson

There is a similar character to villain’s chief assistant who plays the role of chauffer and general fixer, Cyrus Paice, in this instance played by Mickey Rourke. Both wear dark glasses and the relationships between Jack and this man has a past. The character in both films appears to have carried out the murder of the brother. The man who participates in the porn film is killed but the woman involved Geraldine,  who recruits the local girls appears to commit suicide rather than drowning unintentionally when the villains from London push the woman’s car in the Tyne with the woman locked in the boot by Jack. The  local villain  appears to be replaced by a young drug taking  multi millionaire who has made his money from the Internet, including porn channels. In the  original  he  goes to prison while in this Jack lets him off with a severe warning. Miranda Richardson plays the mother.

The aspect which interests is that Michael Caine , the original Jack Carter also has a role in the film, this time Cliff Brumby the business partner of the brother, a club owner who claims ignorance of  why the killing took place. It emerges that he was responsible for the porn film production and the brother is killed  because he won‘t give up the master DVD given to him by the woman participant when she finds out the girl is his daughter.  Carter kills Brumby when he finds out  the truth. However  Carter does not die at the end but goes off for a new life after gaining revenge.

If made today as an original version the 2000 version ahs some merit with some good acting performance and some insight into contemporary villainy associated with the porn industry. In fairness it is not the remake disaster of another cult film of the past, The Wicker Man. However those to love the original will still find the remake difficult to take and regarded it as  an unnecessary. I enjoyed the Caine performance though.

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