#164 – Ice Pick Phillips

(2000, GB, 108 min) Dir Harry Denton. Cast Alan Barking, Jason Flemyng, Vera Day, Keith Chegwin.

On the back of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels there came a slew of gangster films from the British film industry and, as with any opportunistic glut, there were the occasional examples where advantage was taken of the gold rush and quality work was produced – Sexy Beast for one, Croupier for another. These few films however, represented a very small amount of the overall whole, the remaining dreck best typified by Ice Pick Phillips. We’ve got a minor actor acting the hard man (Alan Barking, best known as Ian Bleat in TV soap Waterhigh), a Lock, Stock alum (Jason Flemyng) and an egregious example of stunt casting (Keith Chegwin getting tortured to death for an unpaid debt) – all the ingredients for a paper-thin nth generation copy of something that was barely liked in the first place. It’s the true story of the titular man, a mob enforcer for the Dubbin’s gang in the Seventies who earned his name for the expected reason. The film is firmly on Phillip’s side, taking a gleeful relish in the objects of his tortures and making sad face at his eventual downfall and incarceration like it was some kind of injustice. Mandela he ain’t, needless to say. I would have been bored if my blood hadn’t been boiling at this vile little flick.

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Twitter: @MadeUpFilms

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