English for the Hard of Hearing
Five years after The Long Good Friday, Bob Hoskins returned to the gangster genre, but his character George is a mere underling this time, a chauffeur hired by a mesmerisingly slimy gangland kingpin (Michael Caine) to transport a high-class prostitute (Cathy Tyson) from client to client. When she enlists his help in tracking down an old friend, George finds himself exploring a hellish underworld that he never imagined existed.
Hoskins’ immensely complex, subtle and moving performance hoovered up almost every Best Actor award going (Cannes, a BAFTA, a Golden Globe) and remains one of his greatest roles - a man sucked by circumstance into a life of crime but still righteous enough to seize the opportunity to do good when it presents itself.
Director Neil Jordan (The Company of Wolves, The Crying Game) and co-writer David Leland (Made in Britain) achieve a perfect blend of hard-edged realism and unexpected fantasy, with the regular appearance of the Nat King Cole title song turning seedy British locations (Soho, Brighton) into something far more romantically evocative.
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