Fresh from living overseas, gangster John Morgan – played expertly by Billy Murray – returns to London. Tension rises due to pressure from the big boss and an obsessed copper in pursuit of revenge. To bring his family back together, John hosts a dinner party, where they are set to meet his daughter’s girlfriend – but, all is not what it seems. As the night progresses, a deadly game of cat and mouse ensues ending in revenge and murder.
When done well, British gangster flicks blend multifaceted characters with a solid storyline and contain a degree of shock factor and violence with a smattering of the nation’s unique humour. The UK has produced renowned classics in the genre and audiences have high expectations. With such an extensive range of movies available – particularly at a time when online content has never been in such demand – observers also crave something innovative and unexpected.
Unfortunately, these two words cannot be associated with Nemesis. Although the feature endeavours to offer something new, the plot is prescriptive and perfunctory, essentially going through the motions in its retelling of a familiar and often told revenge story. This could be forgiven if viewers were offered an entertaining ride, but instead they are saturated with exposition. Film is a visual medium, but here spectators are bombarded with such a wealth of information about character, motivations and backstory that it becomes a challenge to sustain one’s attention. There are too many clumsy clichés and most of the individuals on screen are stereotypical, veering too close to caricature. Fortunately, Murray elevates proceedings with his persuasive portrayal, but his talents only emphasise many of the flick’s flaws.
The vengeful cop strand seems to have legs but ultimately fails to really go anywhere, with Nick Moran’s role being sacrificed in favour of a plot twist. The pace vastly improves, and the audience does take some exciting and surprising turns in the intense finale, but after so much time devoted to set-up, the payoff still falls somewhat flat. It’s a real shame as the climax exemplifies the heights the film could have reached had it been firing on all cylinders from the off. While it’s underpinned with a lot of potential, sadly this slow-burn fails to ignite interest.
Nemesis is released on 29th March 2021.
Watch the trailer for Nemesis here: