Essex Boys (2000) from C2000 and Tuna and Scoopy

Guest review from C2000:

"If you know what'd better keep your mouth shut." This film is largely based on true events that took place in Essex in 1996(?) as a consequence of which three men were murdered, two are in prison for life and one is living under an assumed identity.

Billy Reynolds (Charlie Creed-Miles) is an Essex cab driver and part-time runner for John Dyke (Tom Wilkinson), a small scale drug baron. Jason Locke (Sean Bean) is released from prison after serving 5 years for armed robbery. While Locke was inside, he protected Dyke's identity, so he figures that Dyke "owes him".

Billy acts as a driver for Locke, who demonstrates psychopathic tendencies towards his enemies and his wife Lisa (Alex Kingston), and rapidly becomes entangled in a gangland battle for control of the drug and club security scene in Essex.


Holly Davidson shows her bare butt when lying dead.

Alex Kingston does some excellent nudity including full frontal, topless and a sex scene. She's an actress who always delivers on the nudity front.

One other woman is topless briefly.

Locke requests that Dyke provide him with a consignment of ecstasy. The batch is contaminated and causes several fatalities. Dyke is under pressure from Locke and formulates a plot in collaboration with Lisa to eradicate Locke. The Range Rover murder of Locke and his two partners is the highlight of the film. Billy witnesses the murder but is allowed to live on the strict understanding that he keeps his mouth shut. This would have been a logical end to the film but it proceeds to introduce a sexual relationship between Billy and Lisa and the attempt by Dyke to eliminate Billy.

Initially this appears to be yet another Brit gangster flick. I rate this a cut (or should it be a bullet) above the traditional fare. It is no "Lock, Stock..." but is certainly much better than "Gangster No.1" and "Rancid Aluminium". The plot is largely self evident but this is to be expected from a movie that is partly based on fact. The film tended to meander due to a lack of violence and over-emphasis on the human relationships. The film-makes come unstuck in their attempt to introduce an element of seriousness to the film. The Range Rover murder scene was the definite highlight although the suspense was reduced by the knowledge that it would happen. I enjoyed the ending which differed from what was anticipated.

Charlie Creed-Miles does well as a naive young man who gets caught up in events. Sean Bean is good playing a psychopath but is implausible as a would be drug baron.

Tom Wilkinson, better known for his roles in "the Full Monty" and frolics with Minnie Driver in "The Governess", is horribly miscast as a drug baron. Alex Kingston does a sound job in her 'split personality' role of battered wife and calculating drug lord.

Tuna's comments in yellow:

Essex Boys (2000) is proof that there is no honor among thieves, and that Alex Kingston looks great with her clothes off. You can swing a dead cat in this film without hitting one of her more interesting body parts. They got her naked in each of the three acts, including a lengthy, well lit full frontal standing in a doorway. I liked the film a lot more than IMDB readers who have it at an amazingly low 4.5/10. It is the story of an "Essex Boy" who is released after 5 years in prison, and returns to find that his old mates have become rich while he was rotting in a cell. He swears revenge. Alex is his girlfriend.

This film is high energy start to finish, and the ending actually surprised me. It is a field day for the censors, contain language, nudity, drinking, smoking, drug use, extreme violence, and sex. In short, it was my kind of film. I did have trouble with some of the accents, but there is a wonderful sub-title set to help with the thicker accents.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • no major features

  • widescreen anamorphic, 1.85:1

Scoopy's comments in aqua:

It's a so-so movie, one of  about 11 zillion gangster movies that the British seem to make every year, of no special distinction in that genre, except it has some well-known and respected stars in it. The photography is sharp and attractive, but not inventive.

I have now formulated a very clear picture of the English countryside based upon British movies. Although the British technically drive on the opposite side of the street, this is purely theoretical, because all roads in England are only as wide as one car. If you see someone coming from the other direction, depending on the remoteness of your location, you might have to back up all the way to London.

The Critics Vote

  • Critical consensus: two stars. Apollo 51/100, BBC 3/5

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 5.3
  • It grossed about a half million dollars in the UK in about 50 theaters, was not theatrically released in the USA.
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this level is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, Scoop says, "This film is a C-. Genre: Brit gangster film, extremely serious division. It looks good and has some great performers (Tom Wilkinson, Alex Kingston, Sean Bean) but is crippled by a slow, heavy-handed script, and is missing the comic elements which make some other Brit-crime flicks more memorable". Tuna says , "C+ as a thriller, with A+++ nudity"

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