The Fall of the Essex Boys
Based on the actual events that went down in December 1995, The Fall of the Essex Boys is yet another account of the grisly, triple murder of three notorious drug-dealers from Rettendon in Essex.
Directed by Paul Tanter, who worked on GBH, The Hooligan Wars, and The Rise and Fall of a White Collar Hooligan, among others, The Fall of the Essex Boys is another gritty drama bringing the grime of British society to the silver screen. These are stories of the most unpleasant human beings alive in the modern world; characters who lack affability, intelligence and – regrettably – cinematic appeal.
The story, based around the murder of gangsters Tony Tucker (Jay Brown), Patrick Tate (Peter Barrett) and Craig Rolfe (Simon Phillips), is more a mixture of drugs, swear words and violence than anything else. With some horrendously violent scenes depicting the cold-blooded drug-dealers as nothing more than pumped-up, gun-toting, emotionless machines, The Fall of the Essex Boys does well to discourage any sympathy for its central characters.
With potential to make this version of events slightly more compelling than previous attempts, Tanter apparently uses the bulk of his budget on nudity, foul language and, at times, really cringe-worthy acting performances. Perhaps his precedent hooligan films have left him stuck in a genre that he is unable to grow from? Certainly, his experience bringing low-class characters to life has done nothing to enhance this latest film.
As the story follows the gangsters from one drug deal to another, there are a few moments reminiscent of Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s Eleven (2001). However, after a brief flurry of fancy camera work, the film becomes once again lost in the realms of bad language and poor acting. Brown, as Tony Tucker, is an amusing character to behold, but whether this is intentional is unclear. Barrett, as Pat Tate, adds a little stability and acting class, but this is only highlighted by the otherwise poor performances surrounding him.
Overall, The Fall of the Essex Boys does nothing memorable enough to warrant a trip to the cinema. It would suit an audience who enjoyed Tanter’s other works and films in a similar vein, but, unfortunately, on the whole this just does not engage enough interest.
As the film’s narrator (bad boy Danny) says: “If you think you know this story, think again”. However, even if you don’t know this story, it really won’t be worthwhile learning about it. It is unlikely that you will get any satisfaction from watching this movie.
The Fall of the Essex Boys is released nationwide on 8th February 2013.
Watch the trailer for The Fall of the Essex Boys here: