Can you imagine an East End gangster drama which doesn’t star Danny Dyer? Moreover, can you imagine one which wasn’t directed by Guy Richie?
It isn’t an easy concept to fathom; god knows sometimes we don’t want to. Unfortunately it isn’t our choice; Sky 1 is forcing us to picture such an idea because of their new 1980s 4-part drama The Take, starting tomorrow.
Our experience of gangsters begins and ends with a documentary we watched in the eighties about the criminal movements of a family in Walford, London. Given that, we can’t really verify the level of realism present in the many Kray-esque films this country keeps churning out. They pass the basics though, no one could fly, they didn’t have iPhones, it all adds up.
Tom Hardy stars as Freddie Jackson, an unhinged, repulsive killer with an impulse control problem. Viewers without cataracts or eye patches will know him as the guy who played the title role in Bronson. But he isn’t typecast, alright? But fear not, he has a great supporting cast in the guise of Brian Cox and Shaun Evans. There’s even an actress who looks a bit like Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, something for everyone.
Based on a novel by Martina Cole, The Take somehow manages to portray characters both on the good and bad ends of the moral compass without ever presenting anyone with more than a single redeeming feature. Subconsciously you’ll place characters into these two camps but realise later down the line that they are, in fact, all morally abhorrent. This is compounded by the fact that there is little mention of the law, and seemingly no chance of getting caught. It’s all relative.
It’s a compelling mini-series, albeit pretty unpleasant in places; but then most of you watched Britain’s Got Talent didn’t you. This is tame in comparison.
Go and have a butcher’s when it’s on, or you’ll end up ‘ovis mate, brahn bread (dead).
The Take starts on Sky 1 at 9pm tomorrow. Here’s the trailer…