Get Carter (1971)
A brutal portrayal of moral depravity
Get Carter is a brutal and nasty film. But, it works. It's depiction of violence in the British underworld was shocking at the time, but is hardly shocking today. It is an unromantic depiction of gangsterism that shows just how morally depraved these sort of people are.
Jack Carter (Michael Caine) is a London-based but Newcastle-born gangster who returns to his hometown after the death of his brother Frank. While Frank's death is chalked up as an alcohol fueled car accident, Jack is suspicious. He is convinced that Frank's death was not a suicide and investigates by himself, leading to a confrontation with local crime figures.
Get Carter features a great performance from Michael Caine. Caine effectively uses his working class background to tap into his character, using his experiences with criminals to great effect. He is able to portray the ruthlessness and lack of conscience of Jack Carter to great effect. It is hard to envision anyone else playing Jack Carter (Stallone tried in the remake, but failed).
However, the film does have its weaknesses. It slowly meanders along at the start as Carter arrives in Newcastle. Much of the early part of the film consists of Jack going to the local pub and waiting for phone calls. It only really picks up after his first meeting with Cliff Brumby. It would have been insightful if some background on the relationship between Jack and Frank had be given, as they only thing the viewer knows about the deceased Frank is that he was a "good bloke". Still, Get Carter is an effective crime film. It is unflinching in its depiction of violence and shows how one individual can be completely devoid of any sense of morality. The end provides a lesson for us all. Get Carter is certainly worth watching.