Set in the mid-1970s during a hard winter of power failures and police cuts, toughened Detective Sergeant Harrigan (Stephen Tompkinson, Wild at Heart) returns from fighting corruption in Hong Kong to find his own hometown of Newcastle in need of some serious order.
The hard, Northern setting makes for a good backdrop to this crime thriller. The unyielding bad luck that plagues the desperate residents of Harrigan’s hometown seems to diminish with his return, but not for long as the re-acquaintance of friends and foes alike drenches the doomed city in even more strife. Harrigan sets about introducing a more corporal form of punishment to the low-lives of Newcastle to the potential detriment of his friends and colleagues.
The hardened time of lawlessness flooding the streets is reflected in the money-starved police force who attempt to contain Harrigan’s enthusiastic efforts to salvage Newcastle from the criminal hands in which it now resides.
Director Vince Woods and writer Arthur McKenzie (The Bill) collaborate to bring to the big screen a story of unrelenting violence and prolonged unrest. With an emotive, variable soundtrack (that may result in the hearing of Amazing Grace never quite being the same again), there is no doubt that Harrigan is provocative and in every way intended to be so.
Tompkinson’s recognisable facial features are capricious and instil a light, almost amusing element to the film. The dry storyline is fast-paced and contains similarities to films such as Harry Brown and This is England, but unfortunately falls short of any significant memorabilia or innovation.
Filmed in Newcastle-upon-Tyne there is no question about the film’s locational authenticity, and there can be no doubt that when it comes to nitty-gritty police dramas, no one does them as well as the British. However, with so many films to refer to now in the near saturated genre, the competition is steep and Harrigan doesn’t quite cut it.
All in all Harrigan is an entertaining watch, but probably a good one to wait for DVD release.
Harrigan is released nationwide on 20th September 2013.
Watch the trailer for Harrigan here: