The new film from Paul Tanter is based on the actual events of the rise and fall of the Essex Boys gang. The story takes us back to where it all began and eventually leading up to the culmination of the murders of notorious criminals; Patrick Tate, Craig Rolfe and Tony Tucker on 6th December 1995 in Rettendon, Essex where they were shot dead in their Range Rover whilst waiting for big drug deal.

With plenty of drugs, violence and colourful language this is unmistakably a British gangster film. It’s a raw and ruthless depiction of the Essex Boys reign in the 90’s and shows how far both the criminals and Police will go to get the job done.

This genre of film has been moulded and shaped over the years by such films as The Krays, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrells, Snatch, The Football Factory, The Business, Rise of the Footsoldier and Layer Cake and have all had a great deal of success. The difficulty with this film that it tries to emulate some of the better films in the genre and breath life into it without really pulling it off. It is a story that we have seen told before notably through Terry Windsor’s Essex Boys (2000) and a plot that will seem fairly familiar to many films that have come before it.

 

However, it’s not without its redeeming factors. The look and feel of the film is spot on giving it enough of that British gritty edge that we all want to see in a gangster film. It also gives us more of an insight from the Police point of view as they struggle to deal with the mounting pressure to bring the Essex Boys to justice rather than just focusing on the criminals. The stand out scenes that are done well include the Amsterdam warehouse robbery and the tension filled final act. The standout performances go to Peter Barrett who plays the highly unpredictable and violent Pat Tate and Nick Nevern as Darren Nichols.

 

There is no doubt that this is very much a film that is male orientated. The language is strong, the women are naked and the violence is heavy and brutal. It has genuine moments of tension and fans of this type of film will love it but it feels like we have seen this film many times and done slightly better too. 

The Fall of the Essex Boys is in cinemas from 8th Feb on limited release and on DVD and Blu-ray from 18th Feb

Max Hubbard