Starring: Glen Murphy, Ray Winstone, Giovanni Capalbo
Genre: Drama/ Crime
London gangster Ray (Murphy) wakes up alone in a building in a secluded part of Italy, with no recollection of how he got there. In the nearby village only one man, Francesco (Giovanni Capalbo) seems to notice Ray’s presence. Francesco himself is having trouble with his daughter, who is planning to leave Italy with her English boyfriend who both Franceso and Ray know is obviously trouble, but as she loves him she will not let her mind be changed. Ray is also plagued by flashbacks of both his childhood with his abusive gangster father (Ray Winstone) and the events of his recent life as a London gangster which lead to him being attacked and waking up in Italy covered in blood. It appears that all three narratives are connected and it is up to Ray to do what he feels is right here in Italy to right the wrongs of all three.
“Italy?” I here you ask. Yes, despite the title and front cover having Ray Winstone holding a gun with intent against a backdrop of the London skyline, a vast majority of the narrative takes place in Italy, hence the original more appropriate but less marketable title of Lost in Italy. Naturally people are more likely to buy this film with a poster like the one we have, and they like me are in for a bit of a shock as Ray Winstone only pops up in the occasional flashback of Ray’s childhood. This is not the gangster film that the cover suggests it is and I believe Ray Winstone only appears in those few scenes as a favour to his mate, Glen Murphy who is both star and producer. Thankfully we know these are flashbacks as they start and end with a distinctive noise (similar to the noise used in Lost) to remind us, which is a little patronising, but perhaps forgivable.
Or at least such spoon feeding would be forgivable if what in this case is a very serious and preachy film was actually as intelligent as it thinks it is. The first thing we see on screen is:
“Sin is the root cause of mankind’s need for redemption” genesis 1:31
Personally whenever I see a film start with a quote from the bible I get that sinking feeling. Fine, if it is a good film that deals with the relevant issues in that said quote with intelligence then it may be justified, but more often than not it is at the start of a film that takes itself very seriously and is often quite deluded and stoic in just how intelligent it thinks it is. Unfortunately in the case of Lords of London, it is very much the latter as this is a rather boring and at times painfully obvious film that really struggles to engage and the supposed ‘secrets’ of the narrative are so glaringly obvious
The concept is interesting and does encapsulate many potentially engaging themes that could have provided a cathartic and emotionally rewarding viewing experience. Sadly it is poorly written and way too glaringly obvious, but yet takes a preachy and serious tone as Simoncini and Murphy think they have produced some metaphysical masterpiece. Murphy, though only capable of one expression, is fine in the leading role and Simoncini certainly creates some atmospheric and moody shots that utilise the setting of the old Italian village and are helped by Milton Reame-James and Jeff Ellis emotive score. Yet there is seriously something missing and though it is admittedly not horrifically bad, Lords Of London will bore to the high heavens those it attempts to fool with its misleading DVD cover and frustrate everyone else with its case of wasted potential.