Rating: 4.5 / 5
Sylvester Stallone knew for a long time that Get Carter (The Original!) Was likely to be the best British gangster movie of all time, so he secured the remake rights and clapped himself on it with himself and the original lead actor Michael Caine in a major supporting role. He kept the original content as far as possible, that is, the story in general, and then wondered why his vehicle stinks so much against the original.
Well, probably his younger self, who at least helped to break the scripts for Rocky, Vorhof zum Paradies and FIST at the time, could have explained it to him, but he had long since stormed with the millions of success and had left behind the varnished Sly who just couldn’t understand it.
Just as little as all the others who since then have tried to imitate Get Carter all badly and fail colossally, including the original director, who also tried Clive Owen and Malcolm Macdowell before.
Briefly to the story and then why that is actually halfway irrelevant for the status of the film per se:
Carter is an underworld lakai who returns to his homeland for his brother’s funeral. When he finds out that his brother was murdered and, above all, why, he goes on a revenge tour.
So far so known. Get Carter certainly wouldn’t get an originality award for this story. But that’s not the point either.
Carter’s an ass who defies social conventions, who is remorseful enough to bite the hand that feeds him, and who has no qualms about doing his thing. He knows no scruples and at no time invites you to any kind of identification.
In this respect, he can be classified into the illustrious ranks of anti-heroes or villains, who were also defined by Lee Marvin in those years overseas as hardboiled, like his characters in Death of a Killer or Point Blank (also a film, by the way whose remake the original did not understand, so much for further parallelism).
What distinguishes Get Carter first and foremost is its unconditional local color, which does not gloss over anything, everything is dreary, almost hopeless, and thus a sign of the times that are still to come. Unemployment, social grievances, a lack of prospects, everything tightly packed into a straight gangster plot.
And then something happens that is virtually unique: This ass does not become a figure of identification, but it does become a projection screen for your own wishes and hopes, that you can be the ass who doesn’t give a shit about conventions, who cracks the boss’s hot chick can and does not care about the consequences. the one who made it out of the shithole, no matter how.
And for this, Michael Caine is simply the ideal cast: the man who was already the alternative to Connery’s Bond as Harry Palmer is also an exemplary alternative to the glorious gangster with a good heart.
He’s a tough guy who has seen everything, nobody can fool him. Until he gets caught cold after all. And from then on he doesn’t know anything or anyone.
This is not a typical Guy Ritchie movie or anything, this is not a Rififi on Good Friday (another – later – gangster classic from the island), this is quite simply the story of a country that kind of goes to the dogs, and a man who one this dog is, and stupidly gets sentimental at the wrong time for him.
Uncompromising, no frills.