Finally broadcast in France on Starzplay, Gangs of London beat up all those who dive into it. And if you still have doubts, we'll convince you.
Le Journal du Dimanche speaks of “brutal and radical” violence, Le Point Pop of “the most violent series ever broadcast on television” . We ourselves have been knocked out (the editorial staff is unanimous) by the dexterity of Gareth Evans, who films the action with a daring and precision rarely achieved in the history of television and cinema . The brutality that emerges from the series, widely commented on, therefore, tends to be the only angle to approach it, which has sometimes disappointed some viewers, expecting the density of The Raids .
But its wealth is nestled precisely in its nuances, and in this moment when diplomacy turns into savagery. In this regard, we offer a selection of 3 scenes (including a single fight scene and a single scene that spoils) to convince neophytes and satisfy the convinced. Note that we will not return to the breathtaking episode 5, far too long to be discussed here, clearly one of the peaks of filmed fiction of 2020, all formats combined.
Blood in my face
The first minutes of Gangs of London are already quite an argument. Evans characterizes everything that is to come in a devastating picture. The sequence is not in half measures, which also corresponds very well to the sequence of events. Spread over 9 months and priced between 30 and 40 million dollars, the shooting took place between Wales (where the filmmaker is from) and London, of course .
An incandescent human torch which falls towards the English city, illuminating its buildings a priori tidy, what could be more iconic to open a work which will precisely focus on characterizing a fantasy of the London slums, where crime and jousting between not very Catholic organizations take on proportions bordering on the absurd. The introductory scene sheds first blood , at the same time offering a wicked look at the playing field open to directors and spectators.
It is also the opportunity to give an overview of the inner violence that haunts the main character (played by Joe Cole of Peaky Blinders ), which will condition the way in which the scenario depicts this mafia family. Spectacular, twilight and heralding a darkness that lurks in the streets of London , the sequence starts the series off with a bang.
Welcome to London
A pub covered in blood
This is the first fight streak, and she deposits. What could be more English than a pub? What could be more Welsh than the staging of Evans? This one becomes one with the work of the choreographers, to form an organic and aesthetic whole, where each devastating blow of Elliot (Sope Dirisu, the revelation of His House ) shines thanks to the perfect angle, an adapted rhythm , a chiseled assembly . You have to see a leg deforming on the corner of the bar, an effect increased tenfold by the devastating dive chosen by the filmmaker, where a jaw is embedded in an ashtray, without warning.
A real ballet which also allows itself to translate a progression. The hero doesn't just hit back: he cuts his way through drunk and violent flesh . Like in The Raid , Evans doesn't skimp on bodily deformities. Xavier Gens, one of the directors, referred to Gangs of London to Point Pop as “anti-Marvel” . And indeed, the series takes the opposite of the Hollywood calibrated action, where everyone gets up after a little punch, or leaves to die off-screen. In the world of Gareth Evans, the blows hurt, very badly, giving both credibility and a new spectacular dimension to the confrontations, Dantesque.
A family reunion gone wrong
The family is a very important theme, in a logic directly inherited from the great classic mafia tales of cinema. Except that here, the tendency is towards destruction, not necessarily physical. We mentioned episode 5, but the big breaking point of the series lies in the end of episode 4 , during the attempted murder which affects the Wallace family. This is the moment when survival turns into barbarism: the action, much less present in the second half, turns into a display of pure violence, almost evoking Haneke's experiments. A reference assumed by the director Xavier Gens in Mad Movies.
Gradually weakened in these first four episodes, the family unit ends up breaking up, literally since Corin Hardy films her implosion through a mirror. A metaphor certainly worn to the cord, but full of meaning in a series where everything is constantly exploding. It is the visual concretization of the work's thematic ambitions: recovering archetypes of the mafia thriller to push them to its limits, and observe the effects on humans who can only take. A controlled descent into hell , masterfully led by three film-loving artists who have all made the most of their references.