Get Carter (DVD)

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Get Carter (DVD)

Jack Carter's brother is dead. And Jack (Sylvester Stallone) wants to know why. A Las Vegas mob enforcer, he carefully packs his guns and sets off for...

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Review of "Get Carter (DVD)"

published 10/04/2006 | Nolly
Member since : 27/04/2001
Reviews : 143
Members who trust : 12
About me :
Now here is a blast from the past. What has happened? I am now 40, and found myself at a loose end, so I thought I would pick up my opinionating pen again. Will pop in from time to time and write stuff. Enjoy! Nolly
Pro Hard-hitting, brutal, frighteningly realistic
Cons Some idiot remade it
very helpful
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Characters / Performances
Special Effects

"You're a big man, but you're out of shape"

Don't you just hate it when films are all sugar-coated and fluffy, when you know at the neginning that by the end of the final reel the bad guy will lose and the good guy will win the girl as well? Makes you sick, doesn't it? Well, it does tend to fill me with nausea more often than not.

Let Uncle Nolly take you for a ride up nostalgia avenue to the days when films were hard-edged and, I love this word, 'gritty'. The British film industry was not in good shape, but occasionally films were made that became, well, I love this word as well, 'iconic'. They were synonymous or, if you are a natural pessimist, symptomatic of the era in which they were made. One such film is 'Get Carter', which was made when I was but a wee bairn of two years old, way back in 1971.

As always I will give a synopsis of the storyline without giving too much of the story away...


Jack Carter (Michael Caine) is travelling on a train from London all the way up as far as Newcastle Upon Tyne in order to find the answers to some questions. His brother has died in a car accident and, being what would traditionally described as a 'heavy', Jack wants to find out exactly what happened.

Jack is a gangster on his 'manor', but here he is the outsider, a man to whom people don't necessarily want to speak. And if he comes around asking potentially difficult questions that might impinge on the 'businesses' of the gangsters of Newcastle, he might even be in danger.

As he works his way through the dark underbelly (oooh, what a cliché, but I love it!) of life on Tyneside, he touches on a side of life that involves crime (not petty pilfering but hard-core, Ronnie and Reggie stuff), and hard-core pornography, an industry which at the time was very much interlinked with organised crime and people who didn't mind who got hurt to pursue their ends, however nefarious they may be.

Jack does find some answers, and other riddles he finds difficult to solve. As with any gangster worth his salt, any question that doesn't get a suitable answer with just a question may well get a follow-up with a fist, a blunt instrument or, worse still, a gun.

The Cast

Has there ever been an actor who can command a cinema screen with the grace and power of Michael Caine? Of course there have, but it is a question I wanted to ask. From the moment the film starts rolling, Caine dominates each scene in which he appears with what can only be called (watch out, another glorious cliché coming up) brooding menace. He doesn't exude emotion in this film, which is perhaps one of the more unsettling aspects of the character of Jack Carter. He is so business-like and matter of fact in the way in which he dispenses violence that he commands your respect. I will correct that, he doesn't command respect, he expects it and, what is more, he gets it! Here is a man who can conduct phone sex with his mistress while her husband is in the room with her and his landlady is in the room with him! It is that deeply unsettling aspect of his character that is so unnerving.

The supporting cast do their bit, but they are essentially ephemeral, as it is Michael Caine and his actions that are central to the film.

In this film you will encounter Britt Ekland, quiet and sultry as ever, playwright John Osborne as what I am afraid to call the quintessential flesh-peddler, and Brian Mosley, who you may recognise more as cuddly shopkeeper Alf Roberts from 'Coronation Street', who in this film is not a man to be messed with!

The rest of the cast is made up of stalwarts of the British film industry such as Ian Hendry.

My Conclusions

Well, if I were to start off by saying that it is a lot better than the 2000 remake starring Sylvester Stallone that wouldn't be saying much, so dire was that abomination in my opinion.

I am, however, going to describe this film as DUD - note I have not said a dud. DUD in this context is an acronym:

Dramatic - The drama here is palpable - you absolutely want to know what is going to happen next and, if it is your first viewing of the film, you may be surprised.

Unsettling - Well, the hero of the film, or so-called hero, is not really a hero. He is a thoroughly unpleasant character, but we want him to find out the answers that he seeks. Try getting that straight in your head!

Disturbing- This film is very realistic. The violence is not comic-book and stylised. It is gritty, hard-nosed, and you know that it hurts. How can I describe it better? Well, it isn't the well-rounded and sharp smack of a punch in a western, it is the dull, hard and totally excruciating thump that makes you wince because you know that it hurts. And this for a film made in 1971! As for the setting, well I have never been to Tyneside and so I would hate to comment, but it is dirty, dull and dark in the film. Much of the darkness is the organised crime, and with the crime comes the porn. Not glossy porn, not your playboy-esque kind of porn, but the kind of porn that just screams sleaze, that appears dirty and made as a product of crime and oppression. I hope that that makes sense.

Overall I feel that this is a fantastic film. You are gripped to the story, hoping that a man that you do not necessarily like or would like to meet, let alone get on the wrong side of, finds the answers to the questions he seeks, to find out what exactly happened to his brother and, more importantly why.


I have the edition released by Warner Brothers under their 'Iconic Films' logo (see? Even Warner Brothers agree with me!). There are a number of extras on the disc.

Trailers - 3 to be precise

Soundtrack - A music only soundtrack that makes a dark and moody film seem darker and moodier.

Commentary - An audio commentary by Director Mike Hodges and Cinematographer Wolfgang Suschitzky

Raw Data

Certificate 18 (Contains Strong Sex and Violence)
Running Time 107 minutes
Languages - English (Mono Soundtrack)
Subtitles - English, English (Hearing Impaired), Arabic, Romanian, Bulgarian

Cast -

Michael Caine
Ian Hendry
John Osborne
Britt Ekland

Screenplay - Mike Hodges
Adapted from the Novel 'Jack's Return Home' by Ted Lewis

Produced by Michael Klinger
Directed by Mike Hodges

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Comments on this review

  • mongo_bongocat published 09/05/2006
    Great film and great review. Surreal to see Alf Roberts and Michael Caine going toe to toe.
  • giantpanda21 published 18/04/2006
    I like this film Michael Caine is a great actor A great review
  • TallPaul73 published 11/04/2006
    My type of film but for some reason I've never actually seen it. Great review. Paul
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Jack Carter's brother is dead. And Jack (Sylvester Stallone) wants to know why. A Las Vegas mob enforcer, he carefully packs his guns and sets off for Seattle by train. At the funeral, he discovers his brother was full of alcohol when he died in a car accident. But according to his niece, Doreen (Rachael Leigh Cook), his brother didn't drink. Jack starts on a tortuous trail that leads, via gang boss Brumby (Michael Caine) and porno-loving thug Cyrus Paice (Mickey Rourke), to a Seattle computer billionaire named Jeremy Kinnear (Alan Cumming). Among those trying to "get Carter" is Con (John C. McGinley), another enforcer from Las Vegas.<BR>GET CARTER is the second remake of the bleak and gritty 1971 thriller of the same title. In the original, directed by Mike Hodges, Michael Caine played Carter. The first remake was George Armitage's 1972 film HIT MAN. Scriptwriter David McKenna and director Stephen T. Kay have shifted the location of this GET CARTER to the Pacific Northwest.


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