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Essex boys

Threat advisory: High - High risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

Some lines should never be crossed.

Young taxi driver Billy Reynolds (Charlie Creed-Miles) is hired by John Dyke (Tom Wilkinson) to drive for a local villain just out of prison. His passenger, Jason Locke (Sean Bean) is bitter that his friends and colleagues have got rich while he did time. This flame of indignation is fanned by his beautiful and ambitious wife Lisa (Alex Kingston). John Dyke also owes Jason a favour and reluctantly agrees to organise a shipment of drugs for him to sell.

Billy's driving skills and his ability to keep his mouth shut earn him a regular job with Locke's "firm"; earning him more in a night than he used to earn in a week. But his girlfriend Nicole worries about his new employers and warns him about being unwittingly sucked into the criminal underworld.

At a party Lisa discovers her husband having sex with Suzy - a young friend of Billy's. Infuriated, she attacks Locke and they fight viciously. Shortly after she leaves their home, eventually setting up a secret love nest with Dyke.

The tablets were a disaster - hospitalising a host of teenagers. Locke's reputation is in tatters. When threatened, Dyke offers details of a million pound cocaine shipment as compensation. Locke's gang plan to shoot not only the drug couriers, but also Billy and Dyke. But at the supposed rendezvous Dyke and his handyman, Henry Hobbs, ambush the gangsters and shoot them all dead.

Dyke asks Billy to work for him - driving Lisa and helping with an imminent shipment. Lisa moves smoothly into taking over the business and seducing Billy. Dyke, increasingly obsessed with Lisa, discovers this betrayal and tries to ambush Billy, but the young driver manages to escape with a consignment of drugs.

Scared and lonely, Billy arranges to meet Lisa at a local motel. While he takes a bath Lisa goes out to get clean clothes and disinfectant for his wounds. Later Lisa's mobile telephone rings. Billy answers the phone and Lisa simply says "Good-bye". A figure darts behind a hedge outside. Billy screams out for Dyke not to kill him.

It is a great relief to find the police, not Dyke, hiding in the bushes. Lisa has tied up all the knots: Billy is caught with a bag load of drugs, the only knowledge he can trade with the authorities is that of the Range Rover murderers. Thus Dyke and Hobbs are put out of the way too, leaving Lisa top of the criminal pile in the county.

Inspired by the Rettendon Range Rover murders.

Persons of interest

  • Sean Bean .... Jason Locke
  • Alex Kingston .... Lisa Locke
  • Charlie Creed-Miles .... Billy Reynolds
  • Tom Wilkinson .... John Dyke
  • Larry Lamb .... Peter Chase
  • Gareth Milne .... Chippy
  • Amelia Lowdell .... Nicole
  • Michael McKell .... Wayne Lovell
  • Holly Davidson .... Suzy Welch
  • Terence Rigby .... Henry Hobbs
  • Billy Murray .... Perry Elley
  • George Jackos .... Kiri Christos
  • Sally Hurst .... Beverley
  • Louise Landon .... Jemma
  • Jeff Pope .... Screenwriter
  • Terry Winsor .... Screenwriter
  • Terry Winsor .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

  • Essex boys official movie site

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

Crime stuff.

The ongoing fascination for the seamier and somewhat legally challenged side of life continues in this cracker of a film that treats men like boys and women like patsies.

"Whoa!" you cry. "How can a good movie be so politically incorrect?"

Easy: it's true. Most men never grow up (even the "good ones") and have no trouble retaining their boyish charms and fascinations. Like getting drunk, having sex with younger women, setting up international drug deals... that sort of raffish but entirely innocent thing. Not to mention the fighting, raping and wife bashing: all jolly good fun! Meanwhile, women are treated like the undeserving sluts that they are and it serves them right.

Hmmm...

Moving right along, the best part of Essex boys is the ingénu narrator played by Charlie. He really comes across as a babe among the wolves, lapping up their attention like mother's milk but having no defence when they decide to throw him to the wolves. Hang on, they are the wolves. Ummm... leave him out to dry?

[Enough with the metaphors - Director of Intelligence]

Ok, so Charlie's a good loser - that is, he plays a good loser... er... plays a loser well - and the rest are the biggest bunch of crim bastards since Lock, stock and two smoking barrels blasted its way across the big screen. I must diverge at this point and say that Britain does crim barstardy far, far better than the USA. Even a classic like Pulp fiction doesn't capture the true heart of villainy. Perhaps it's got to do with having a longer history with more cut-throat bastards, perhaps it's just the general failure of Hollywood to produce meaningful films, but it shows up on the big screen, no doubt about that.

Where was I? Oh, yes, Billy and his new friends. Jeff and Terry manage to make Billy's journey from cab driver to underworld scum-bucket seem entirely reasonable, not to mention sensible, and even though their writing fills the screen it never overpowers the actors or the action. Every new reel winds the screws a little tighter, warping the thread just a little further, until the final reel with its final, poetic twist snaps the weft and Billy's life unravels completely. Cool. And I did it with one sustained metaphor, too.

Essex boys is a fine addition to the gritty crim drama genre, one which rewards you at the same time as it messes you up. Any modern boy will get his rocks off over this one. Oh, girls might like to watch it, too, since the ultimate bastard is the biggest victim of them all.

Security censorship classification

MA 15+ (High level coarse language, drug use, medium level violence)

Surveillance time

102 minutes (1:42 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

VHS rental: 25 October 2000

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