Recently released from prison, and unwilling to go back to the life that got him sent there, Harry Mitchel (Colin Farrell) goes to work for a reclusive English actress (Keira Knightley). Charlotte has holed up in her home, with only a friend (David Thewlis) for company, hiding from the never-ending pressure from the paparazzi who are continuously camped outside her house for the chance at a single photograph they could sell to the tabloids.
The trouble for Mitchel is his old life won’t let him go. Even though he doesn’t ask for it, Mitchel’s old pal Billy (Ben Chaplin) gets him a collecting job for a local crime boss named Gant (Ray Winstone) who sees Mitchel’s worth and wants to make him part of his organization.
Mitchel’s life is further complicated by his failed attempts to take care of his insane sister (Anna Friel), and a personal vendetta as he hunts down two teens who killed a homeless man (Alan Williams) Mitchel considered a friend.
London Boulevard, which was adapted by writer/director William Monahan from Ken Bruen‘s novel of the same name, is a little more schizophrenic than I’d like. Mitchel’s old life invading his new one works well, but when it completely overtakes the plot the movie dumps the relationship between Charlotte and Mitchel (which is by far the movie’s best storyline) and becomes more of a grim vengeance tale.
The movie is worth a look, but probably only a rental for those who aren’t huge fans of either star. The first half-of the film, where it does a good job balancing all its subplots, works well. However, London Boulevard‘s final act (as it attempts to ramp things up) becomes far too one-note. Also troubling is the anti-climactic ending which may fit the script’s attempt at grim realism, but left me unsatisfied.
Both the Blu-ray and DVD include a short behind-the-scenes featurette about the making of the film.
[Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Blu-ray $35.99 / DVD $30.99]