A riveting thriller in the powerful tradition of Reservoir Dogs, Essex Boys stars Alex Kingston (TV's ER, The Croupier) and Sean Bean (The Lord Of The Rings, Tonin) in an unforgettable story about a dark criminal underworld where seduction and betrayal are a way of life! When ex-con Jason Locke (Bean) is released from prison, he returns home and realizes that his old cohorts have all profited from the empire he helped build. Trusting no one and attempting to restore his reputation and authority, he sets off a chain of events that shakes up the underworld! Also starring Tom Wilkinson (The Patriot, Shakespeare In Love) and Charlie Creed-Miles (The Fifth Element) - the action explodes with Locke's maniacal bid to shift the balance of power!
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The British accents and lingo of Essex Boys are so thick it may help to watch with subtitles--but the moviemaking is clear and crisp. Billy (Charlie Creed-Miles) is a cabdriver who starts getting chauffeuring gigs with some shady characters. But his life remains mild until he's sent to pick up Jason (Sean Bean from Ronin and Lord of the Rings), a short-fused mobster who's just been released from five years in prison. Jason quickly decides to settle some old scores and drags Billy along for the ride. Soon Billy is part of a mob--and finds he likes the money and status that go with it, despite the misgivings of his girlfriend and of his former mentor, Mr. D (Tom Wilkinson). When Jason's volatile jealousy leads him to mistreat his wife Lisa (Alex Kingston from ER), things take a turn for the worse and Billy gets in deeper than he ever expected. In its rough plot outlines, Essex Boys resembles Goodfellas--but the particular British flavor makes this a very different movie. Its gritty realism and attention to detail also separate it from the empty flash of Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels; Essex Boys earns its suspense with sharp writing, strong performances all around, and lean, tight direction. An excellent addition to the recent spate of gangster flicks. --Bret Fetzer
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