What’s up, I’m dos Santos and this is Ulven Reviews: movies and series from all over the world and all eras. Today let’s talk about London Fields directed by Mathew Cullen.
Nicola Six (played by Amber Heard) is a Femme Fatale stereotype who predicts her own death. One day she goes to a pub and meets Guy (played by Theo James), Keith (played by Jim Sturgess), and Samson (played by Billy Bob Thornton), and she believes one of them is the killer.
London Fields is really bad. Depending on when I watched Elon Doesn’t Believe in Death, London Fields might be the worst film I’ve seen the whole year.
It was supposed to be some kind of a Film Noir, or at least, a Neo-Noir type of movie, but I’ll try to demonstrate in this review that it has nothing to do with film Noir.
The plot is based on the book of the same title, and I don’t know if the book is as bad as the movie, but the plot we see in the film is awful. It doesn’t make any sense, and it’s very predictable. I literally knew the ending by the first shot of the movie. It’s so obvious, so cliche. I guess they tried to conclude in a plot twist, oh so clever. It didn’t work, it was shit.
The whole movie consists of these three men constantly following, and going after this woman, whose absolutely only quality is her appearance. And even that is questionable, not every person has the same taste.
Just by that, you can see there’s nothing of Film Noir here. There’s no investigation, there is no crime, just maybe a crime in the future, there’s no suspense, the romance is flat, there’s nothing compelling about it, or romantic about it, just cheap, ground-level, badly developed lust.
I would say the most present tone of the movie is the comedic tone. However, the comedy is horrible, as well. It’s not funny at all.
The story is inconsistent and ludicrous. There’s a bunch of things that barely make any sense, for example:
Why Guy, a rich man, is hanging out in a shitty pub where he has no friends?!
Since when dart-throwing becomes such a relevant sport?!
Why Nicola is a clairvoyant?! Why she doesn’t have any more visions, just a few in her backstory to fake some consistency and the one of her death?!
We could go on forever, there’s a lot of things that don’t make any sense, but let’s move on.
The characters are awful, all of them are stereotypes. I think the intention was to make them stereotypes, but I doubt the intention was to make them unlikeable stereotypes. There’s nothing to like about them, absolutely nothing. Any character could die, and we wouldn’t feel shit.
But the worst of all has to be Nicola. She just walks around half-naked, deceiving people for no apparent reason. The only reason I can think of is to give the other characters a reason to kill her. If every character has a reason to kill her, the audience supposedly will have a doubt of who will be the actual killer at the end of the movie. Well, I didn’t!
Since we’re talking about Nicola, the hyper-sexualized appearance of the character was used as bait for the male audience, which only makes the character worse and exploitative without a reason to be, besides the commercial hunger of the studio.
It is possible to make a character sexy and compelling, but that’s not the case at all. They made it cheap and trashy, and that’s the problem.
I won’t say all the characters are 100% bad. Actually, I thought something good could come out of Samsom Young, the writer, but I was proven wrong down the line when he entered the obviousness of all the other characters.
I like Billy Bob Thornton. I liked especially his participation in Fargo, the series, but there is nothing here for anyone. Since all the characters are caricatures, the performances became caricatures as well. The most obvious one being Jim Sturgess, with all his bizarre faces.
London Fields is an absolute waste of a good cast. I have to list some more that I haven’t mentioned before: Jamie Alexander, Cara Delevingne, Jason Isaacs, Johnny Depp, you get the point.
And yeah, there’s Johnny Depp and Amber Heard in the same movie. That’s because the filming began in 2013. The film was supposed to be released in 2015. But because of a judicial fight between the director and the producers, the release was delayed to 2018.
The Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard legal battle only began in 2016. By that time, the movie was already completed and ready to be released.
Sometimes we see a movie that we don’t like the story or other elements, but, at least, the appearance of it is pleasant. That’s not the case here.
London Fields looks bad, as well. It has a strange aesthetic. A lot of the places, the settings, are not believable, are too vast, and empty. Others are way too damaged. Some are just ugly, like everything involving that dart-throwing competition.
The lighting seems unnatural, way too bright. The only thing redeeming, I would say, is (sometimes, very few times) the colors are nice, but in others are awful as well.
And the apartment Sam is in, has some interesting rooms, like the library. I guess it’s a library, I don’t remember quite clearly.
Now since we’re comparing it to Film Noir, there’s barely anything in the cinematography that resembles Film Noir. Maybe, sometimes, the use of fog, but that’s about it.
The main elements that make Film Noir so recognizable are not present. For example, the use of contrasting lights and shadows, like I mentioned in The Third Man review.
The makeup and costumes are all okay, but that’s one observation I have to make regarding Keith. He has really fucked up teeth, and in one shot, they forgot about his teeth, and his teeth are normal, all white, and straight.
I mean, come on, that’s basic shit. It made me remember a movie I won’t mention because I want to review it someday, and I don’t want to spoil the surprise. But, the guy is downstairs with one hairstyle. Then, we have a cut when he’s climbing up the stairs to go to the upper floor. On the upper floor, he already had a haircut. At least this haircut film is trashy, low budget, it doesn’t have a stellar cast like London Fields. What’s London Field’s excuse.
Let’s finish it with a score, like always. I really like Dark Jazz or Jazz Noir, things like the Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble or Bohren & der Club of Gore. It’s a type of Jazz inspired by the old Film Noir scores, which I also love.
In London Fields, they try to emulate it. It’s like an homage to the Film Noir genre, right?! But as most of the film, here it didn’t work. It’s generic, it doesn’t have personality. It’s not bad either, it’s just forgettable.
London Fields is an awful movie. The worst Pseudo-Noir I have ever seen, and has very few redeeming qualities, including the stellar cast. That being said I’ll give London Fields 2 Moons.
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