(director: John Mackenzie; screenwriter: Barrie Keefe; cinematographer: Phil Meheux; editor: Mike Taylor; music: Francis Monkman; cast: Bob Hoskins (Harold Shand), Helen Mirren (Victoria), Dave King (Parky), Eddie Constantine (Charlie), Stephen Davis (Tony), Paul Freeman (Colin), Bryan Marshall (Harris), Charles Cork (Eric), Chrisopher Driscoll (Phil), George Coulouris (Gus), Pierce Brosnan (First Irishman), Alan Devlin (Priest), Derek Thompson (Jeff), Bruce Alexander (Mac), Ruby Head (Harold’s Mother); Runtime: 114; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Barry Hanson; Embassy Pictures; 1980-UK)

A conventional Brit thriller that’s moderately entertaining.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A conventional Brit thriller that’s moderately entertaining. It’s about an ambitious East End gangster involved with the American Mafia, corporations, corrupt police and politicians, the IRA and a mysterious rival, as he schemes to develop the London Dockland. Director John Mackenzie(“Quicksand”/”Ruby”/”The Fourth Protocol“) and writer Barrie Keefe manage to stereotype everyone, so the Cockneys, the IRA and the Mafia are typical portrayals. The location shots of London are less than noir, as the visuals are subpar. Also, the bloodshed is plentiful but only slightly better than the wearisome plot.

London yacht owner and ritzy penthouse resident, the big-time gangster Harold Shand (Bob Hoskins), on Good Friday, is set to close the biggest real estate deal in modern London, a deal that will net him billions and also revitalize London as a leading new city in Europe. The deal will be financed by the American mob, who send over mob chief Charlie (Eddie Constantine) and mob lawyer Tony (Stephen Davis) to close the deal. You know things will go wrong when Charlie, upon arrival, says a hat left on his yacht bed will bring bad luck.

On Good Friday Harold’s long-time trusted homosexual associate Colin (Paul Freeman) gets stabbed to death while at a swimming pool, a car bomb kills gang member Eric (Charles Cork ), a bomb destroys the pub Harold owns and one bomb is defused in Harold’s casino. The anxious Harold with the help of his smart gun moll Victoria (Helen Mirren), try to figure out whose behind these violent incidents. Harold also uses the corrupt police chief Parky (Dave King), on his payroll, for help, while his goons cover all leads in a rough-house manner.

When it is finally revealed that the IRA is involved, it leads to a Chi-town 1930’sSt. Valentine’s Day Massacre. The heavily melodramatic and stylish gangster flick ends unsuccessfully trying to send some religious Easter message about violence begetting violence.

This was Hoskins’ breakthrough to stardom, in a role he relishes playing with vigor.

Helen Mirren and Bob Hoskins in The Long Good Friday (1980)