The End (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner29/04/2009

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 80 mins

Entertaining, nicely shot and sharply edited documentary, although it's impossible not to think of the Monty Python Piranha Brothers sketch while you're watching it.

What's it all about?
Directed and produced respectively by Nicola and Teena Collins (daughters of featured gangland figure Les Falco), The End is a documentary that allows various East End villains and general hard men (several of them bare-knuckle boxers) to tell their stories in their own words. Shot mostly in black and white, the film also employs superficial editing techniques to make the documentary seem like it belongs to a bygone age as each character is at pains to explain that the East End of their glory days no longer exists.

The film is sharply edited so that each character expounds upon the same topics (growing up, being bullied, the worst things they've seen and done, prison, years served) at the same time. This pays particular dividends when they're all talking about injuries they've taken over the years and how many times they've been shot, stabbed, knocked out and so on.

The Good
The film is packed with hard-as-nails anecdotes and the interviewees come across as a disarmingly likeable bunch, so it's all the more shocking when they then start talking about the violent things they've done. It's also brimming with amusing or surprising details, such as two characters who have become born-again Christians or the fact that everyone cites Robert DeNiro as their favourite actor.

The Bad
It's clear that being the daughters of a well-respected East End figure has allowed the Collins gilrs to get extremely candid interviews from their subjects. However, the film still falls into the same trap that gangster documentaries always end up in, which is that nobody will say anything that might incriminate them so you always feel you're not getting the whole truth.

It's also fair to say that the film can't escape the usual gangland cliches and, as such, it's impossible not to be reminded of Monty Python's Doug and Dinsdale Piranha sketch while you're watching it.

Worth seeing?
This is a well made, entertaining documentary that's easily the best of the recent handful of British gangster docs.

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Content updated: 13/12/2017 20:40

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