Noir Fest: Get Carter 

Caine, More Than Able

Caine, More Than Able
On the Mount Olympus of cinematic ass-kickers, we’d have to rank Michael Caine somewhere around Zeus. In Mike Hodges’ 1971 pulp masterpiece, a cult movie of almost inconceivable popularity in its native Britain, Caine’s cold-eyed angel of doom ankles London for grimy Newcastle (where former NaFF artistic director Brian Gordon now runs the local film festival) to avenge his brother’s murder. When a porn loop reveals another ugly slight to the family, assassin Caine chucks his loyalty to the London mob and declares war on the locals. Far tougher than the dweeby lad movies it spawned, Hodges’ frozen-blooded thriller stands in sharp contrast to the elegant Jean-Pierre Melville gangster fantasias in the Belcourt’s Noir Fest 2. It’s smudged with location grit, stocked with seedy birds and ruddy thugs, and steeped in a mortal chill so pervasive that it leaves your teeth chattering. And it has Caine, a bad-ass so self-assured that when two mob enforcers interrupt him mid-shag, he coolly whips out a shotgun bollocks-naked and marches them into the street. What, you say, you already saw the Stallone remake? Now’s your chance to atone.
Sat., March 6; Mon., March 8, 2010


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