Greetings valued Dan's Movie Report and www.action-flix.com readers. I could not wait, NowTV and Sky networks have unleashed what I call, the finest action series ever. It happened. Gangs of London checks every single box in the action/crime drama saga, skirting a level only the first two Godfather films could hope to achieve. Even as amazing as the Sopranos was, it left many questions unanswered, and ambiguous characters. Gangs of London defines the players, defines the good and bad characters, then tells you not to believe what is shown.
What happens here is with a proper budget, Gareth Evans (The Raid) along with fellow co-directors Xavier Gens and Corin Hardy, have fleshed out literally a gangster tale where the story is not implied, but unfolds in front of us, the audience. We do not hear about people getting tortured and killed, we are thrust into each scene with an fervor unmatched. I refuse to spoil any of this series as so many events happen that a crucial to the development of the intricate story. I will say this, the series is NOT for the faint at heart as, there are limbs being severed, heads being drilled and a water torture scene. Gangs of London, is shockingly intense in violence, but there is such a detailed story to back it up. Keep binging and re-watch.
Essentially there are several factions. You have the Wallace family with Mother Marian Wallace, played by Michelle Fairley ('Game Of Thrones'), and her two sons Sean and Billy, who are part crazy and part scared, but always aggressive. Michelle Fairley's Marian is perhaps my second favorite character, she is given a lot to do and say and she has some motherly instincts yes, but being around my age ha she has a wily veteran aggressive streak that is quite refreshing! The second big family is the Dumani family lead by Ed Dumani, deftly portrayed by Lucian Msamati. The family is an enigma, as the father is a big crime lord yet his son is up to be mayor. There is a group of mercenaries seemingly going rogue and working for whoever is paying them. Kind of like a paramilitary force. The basically go in an leave no survivors. Incidentally, Wallace family also includes in an extended cameo, Colm Meaney from Star Trek fame, he plays like the uncle and OG violence patriarch. My favorite of the lot is Narges Rashidi as Lale, she portrays a part that is worth exploring further. Overall some very memorable character development and dialogue in 'Gangs of London'
Here is an excellent short documentary on the female characters of 'Gangs of London'
(C) 2020 Sky Network
Above: Narges Rashidi as Lale, just being her aggressive and tormented self! (C) 2020 Sky Network for promotional use only not monetized.
The character of Lale would in ever other movie or TV show be some bearded stereotypical Middle Easter man, and more often than not, a nondescript throw away character. Kudos to the entire show production team to recognize the extremely high level of talent Narges possess, and really develop an aggressive yet sympathetic character. No spoilers of course but there is a scene in which Narges basically goes on a killing rampage, and in real life Narges hard to escape the horrors of the 80s Iran/Iraq War. The powerful scene, is not just random killing, there are emotional scars on her face, and as her character goes further into the series, she becomes the anti hero. The crap she has to put up with, and being a leader of men, even though she is not a man, is truly astonishing. I say EMMY!
Finally of course there are the police officers, who actually are integrated into the story as some are corrupt, yet some are just a step behind. Although she has a smaller role, I kind of liked Jing Lusi as Detective Inspector Vicky Chung. Even though she is often late on the scene she knows what is going on and warns her fellow officers. My only small gripe is she was just not given enough to do, but hopefully she will be back for season 2.
Actor Lee Charles has a crazy fight in Gangs of London and look for a future interview on Dan's Movie Report, I wish he was in the show longer. Many of the what I call single episode or minor characters actually are quite entertaining.
The accouterments of the show are very solid, lighting, acting, scenery musical score, yes it is a BRITISH crime drama, I am USA based and I can understand it, not that hard, I see people complaining. I say get headphones and turn up the volume and be non distracted watching it. Don't play on your phone, put the dogs and kids to bed. And watch it. I would say watch it two episodes or three per day for the duration, do not stop an episode halfway through let it play out, they are 53-58 minutes in length and the season of Gangs of London is 9 episodes. I mean, during this Covid situation, no real excuse not to binge the show in a two week period.
Overall, the series is just excellent, having all of the elements in action of 'The Raid' with the quality story telling of 'The Godfather', and the character intricacies of 'Goodfellas'. Gangs of London season one rates a 10 out of 10, it is my third perfect score in my 11 years writing on Dan's Movie Report. Binge, binge, and binge again, watching out for the ladies of Gangs of London, they are the crazy ones!
The show is available for streaming on NowTV @ https://www.nowtv.com/ie
Watch for the series in the USA on Cinemax later in the Summer: https://www.cinemax.com/
Check out Narges Rashidi Facebook Page @ https://www.facebook.com/nargesrashidiofficial/
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