Friday, December 28, 2018

Cinema Shame: Get Carter (1971)


I'm ending my 2018 Cinema Shame challenge with a bang! I continue my exploration of Michael Caine's filmography with a first time viewing of Get Carter (1971). While I was expecting a great thriller, what I wasn't expecting was one of the most brutal revenge stories of all time.

Directed by Mike Hodges, Get Carter stars Michael Caine as Jack Carter, a ruthless gangster working in London. When his brother dies in a car accident, he travels home to Newcastle to attend his funeral. But something is fishy about how his brother died. As Carter starts to uncover clues he finds out that not only was his brother's death a murder it was also a personal attack on Carter himself. Carter will stop at nothing to find out what happened and to destroy every one involved. 




Michael Caine's Jack Carter is one of the most cold-blooded and merciless characters I've ever encountered in a film. Several scenes sent chills up my spine. While Carter is sadistic in his actions he's not completely unsympathetic. He's clearly affected by the death of his brother and it's the motivation for everything he does in the film. And one element in his complicated revenge plot is the discovery that his niece, Doreen (Petra Markham), was involved in a pornographic film with the same people who sought out her father's death. If Carter wasn't already mad, this discovery set him on a course of no return. 

Caine's performance as Carter is brilliant. He's cool, calm and collected but there is a fury behind his eyes that lets you know every single move is a calculated one. And Carter is one sexy gangster. He's got a way with women it's no wonder why they all fall victim to his charm. He seduces several women including Britt Ekland as Anna, Geraldine Moffat as Glenda and Rosemary Dunham as Edna. The biggest victim of Carter's wrath is Dorothy White's Margaret, his brother's girlfriend and a key accomplice to the gangsters who were out to get Carter.

SPOILER STARTS HERE

 It's too bad about the ending. It makes sense for the story arc because its clear that Carter was on a path of destruction and there was no turning back. But had he survived this tale, Jack Carter films would have made a nice 1970s franchise. 

SPOILER ENDS HERE





Get Carter was remade in 2000 with Sylvester Stallone. Some of the actors from the original, including Michael Caine, appear in the remake. It would be interesting to see the 2000 version but I'm in no particular rush to do so.

While I didn't finish all of my 2018 Cinema Shame movies I tackled quite a few and will finish the rest on my own time. I'm excited to work on my challenge for 2019. Big thanks to Jay of Cinema Shame for hosting and encouraging us cinephiles to finally see those films that have been on our to-be-watchlist for way too long.


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