“ Genre: Crime & Thriller / Suitable for 18 years and over / Director: David Drury / Actors: Tom Hardy, Brian Cox, Shaun Evans, Kierston Wareing, Charlotte Riley ... / DVD released 2009-07-06 at ITV Studios Home Entertainment / Features of the DVD: PAL „
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After watching this with my husband over the last few days I actually found I enjoyed it. It is a four part miniseries that was shown on Sky one back in 2009, and somehow we had managed to miss it. You can now purchase it from Amazon for around £4, or watch it on sky go which is how we decided to watch. After recently watching the runaway I decided to see if there were any other Martina Cole book adoptions made and that is how I came across this series. I have to admit this is not something I would usually watch. A gangster film which covers everything from sex, drugs and violence it is usually something I would give a miss. For the first ten minutes I was deciding if I should turn the series off, but after that I became hooked and just wanted to know what happened next.
This series follows the arrogant and destructive Freddie Jackson after his release from prison. At home his wife Jackie and she is sure he is going to turn straight and have the perfect family life with her and their two girls. She couldn't be more wrong! Freddie is setting out to get back at all the people that forgot him while he was put away, with disastrous results. She has turned to alcohol and drugs to numb the pain of her husband being in prison, and as the series continues she spirals out of control as his antics get worse. Another main character is Jimmy who is Freddie's younger cousin and really looks up to Freddie, so when Freddy promises him the world if they stick together of course he accepts.
Jimmy is with Maggie (conveniently Jackie's younger sister). This couple are the opposite of the self destructing people that Freddie and Jackie are, and this causes tension between the four of them. Maggie and Jimmy have everything that the other two want, and rather than be happy for their family members it causes huge rifts. As we watch their progress through the series, the once underdog Jimmy rises above Freddie's destructive ways gaining more rep and power, much to the annoyance of Freddie. Of course this is not going to end well and we follow the twists and turns the two couple's journey takes us.
Tom Hardy plays one of the lead roles in this series and I have to admit he annoys me a little in other films. (Yes, I know women usually swoon over him).Other than 'This means war' I was not overly familiar with him, but there is just something about him that makes me dislike him. That mixed with his wife Kierston Wareing who currently playing Max's new squeeze in Eastenders I was sure I would not be able to continue watching. I have to admit both are perfect in their roles, and after watching this series I will never doubt their acting skills again.
Freddie has recently been released from prison after an armed robbery. Tom plays the part of Freddie amazingly. At first I was put off by his accent and his whole attitude, but as we move further into the show he stops being Tom and actually turns into Freddie. He manages to portray a broken, angry man perfectly and I just found myself hating the character as much as you would expect. His acting throughout remains consistent and he manages to make the viewer actually feel what he is going through, but also everyone that he does wrong too. The craziness behind his eyes is so believable, and every single thing that he does is perfectly finished to really make me believe in the character.
Jimmy is Freddie's younger cousin and we are led to believe he is just a sheep following his cousin. Shaun Evans is an actor I am not overly familiar with. At first he seems shaky and I was sure he would be left in the background as Tom steals the limelight, but this is purposely done. The further we get into the series the stronger his acting gets and this is done perfectly to make him seem like the underdog. His acting was faultless and I was really surprised he was able to hold the viewers attention on him. As his character grows so does his acting and he was actually one of my favourite characters in the show.
Kierston Wareing and Charlotte Riley as the wives of these men are again perfect in their role.Both are pole opposites from each other, but work together and individually to really push their characters home. They both have some really hard scenes to portray but they manage to do it effortlessly. Charlotte (Maggie) especially makes you feel huge sympathy for her character, and I was surprised at how well they fitted the characters as I was a little unsure at first. Other than these four characters there are others that drift in and out. The whole show is based around these two couples and everyone else just seems to fade into the background despite them having important roles.
This miniseries is set in the 80s/90s and follows these London gangsters through the middle of their life. As mentioned before this is not what I would usually be interested in, but I found myself needing to know what happened next? It is a simple miniseries, not high budget but the effect it leaves on the viewer is definitely lasting. The actors all do an amazing job of pushing their characters across to the viewer leaving you lost in their problems and struggles.
There is a lot of sex, drugs and violence so not something to be watched by younger viewers. It covers a huge range of issues and I did find some of it a little difficult to watch. There are a few scenes of violence which I found myself covering my eyes at, but nothing to over the top. At the same time I could not help myself, as it has the same twists and turns you would expect from a Martina Cole novel. The character development is perfect so the viewer really gets to know each person. Other than the first episode there are few characters introduced, but this works well so that we feel we really know the characters already there.
Some of the story lines are very shocking and I even cried at one point, but I expect nothing less from an adaption of book from this author. While I have not read this particular book so cannot compare, but the story line and the way it changes so quickly seems to fit well. They do not reply on music and scene setting to carry the programme, but instead use the actors to portray the emotions and drama taking place. My only negative of this is the way it jumps forward a few years with each episode. While this is vital to see across the 10 year span of their lives, I just find it irritating having to fill in the gaps.
Both my husband and I really enjoyed watching, and managed to watch all four episodes in two evenings. While there are points where I think I cannot continue watching there is something about it that just makes you want to know what happened next. It would be best suited to adults that enjoy crime/ gangster style films, but I managed to enjoy it despite it not being my usual genre. Some of it is a little over the top for my liking and I found myself shaking my head, but it still manages to be saddening and entertaining at the same time. I would highly recommend watching the series if you think it may be your type of thing, and I am sure it would be loved by Tom Hardy fans. It is hard hitting over the top drama, and is available on Amazon in a DVD form. We used sky's on demand service to watch, and I am glad we did it is one of the more memorable programs I have watched for a while.
A couple of years ago perhaps, now I read the book "The Take" by Martina Cole and for me it was one of her gripping, page turning novels that I really loved. I remembered this series being on Sky 1 but at the time I had read the book relatively recently and so did not want to watch it as I hate watching things and can't enjoy it as I just constantly make comparisons to the book! Since joining Dooyoo I have to confess my Amazon has wishlist dramatically increased and one of the items was this DVD. Only costing £4.97 which I thought was a bargain, when I got my last Amazon voucher I decided to treat myself! It arrived yesterday and as I was home late, I have spent just almost last 4 hours sitting in bed watching this DVD from start to finish as it was so intriguing!
- Storyline -
The book, and consequently in this series follows the loud, arrogant and destructive Freddie Jackson after his release from prison. At home is his wife Jackie and their 2 kids. Jackie is an alcoholic and has undying love for Freddy despite his constant sleeping around and abandoning them for weeks on end smoking and snorting their money away. In addition we have his younger, more soft cousin Jimmy who looks up to Freddy and is his right hand man. Jimmy is with Maggie (who just so happens to be Jackie's sister!) and they are happy and in love...already a recipe for disaster!
Without spoiling too much of what happens, I will say the episodes are packed with drama, blood and murderous revenge. Freddie is on a one man rampage and will not let anyone stand in his way, and as the plot unravels his character becomes more and more despicable, whilst cousin Jimmy the underdog gains more status - which of course leads to sinister family conflict in more ways than one.
The series pretty much follows the sequence of the book, which I appreciated, and reminded me of many events I had forgotten that occurred. However, there are lot's of twists and turns and of course some of them I expected so wasn't as surprising for me as it would be for someone who had not already read the book.
- Acting -
At the time this was on TV I had recently read the book (as mentioned before) and Tom Hardy's profile for me didn't particularly match the character of Freddie, as in the book he is very arrogant, gangster type from the East End and for some reason in my head I had a visual more of Phil Mitchell from Eastenders! So when I saw the ad the actors all looked wrong for the part, but nevertheless I decided to give it a try and I highly commend the performances by all actors in this drama.
The main character of Freddy Jackson is played by Tom Hardy (swoon!) and he is amazing at playing the cocky, ruthless and vengeful character, only out for himself by any means necessary. I felt Hardy brought a slightly childish element to the role as he portrayed a new dimension by showing how Freddie seems quite petty and easily jealous by his cousin who has everything when he feels Jimmy is only where he is due to his help when he first came out of prison. I don't particularly remember this in the book so I thought it seemed more explanatory and gave the drama more balance in why Freddie is the way he is.
Strangely enough as the main character Hardy as Freddie is absolutely horrible as he rapes and murders his way through life to get what he wants, and I was waiting to want to hate him but there is something within his performance where I couldn't help but just feel sorry for him and even like him as he was charming and cheeky whilst at the same time as being an absolute monster! (This could be due to the fact in real life I have the BIGGEST crush on him!)
As the drama is set in East End London from the early 80s to late 90s I felt he did well at his "swagger" as an East End gangster as it is a far cry from his other performances I have seen him in - Warrior, Inception and The Dark Knight Rises, and it shows his versatility as he did a credible cockney accent which is a first as I am used to his american accent now!
Kierston Wareing was amazing as his down in the dumps wife, desperate for some affection from her philandering husband and turning to alcohol and drugs to keep her mind off the torture she has built up inside her. Living in a council flat she played the role of 80s type "chav" extremely well, and was rarely seen in a scene without either a cigarette or glass of wine in hand! As I have only seen her in british TV programs or films I thought she was apt in this role and it didn't show too much of a side of her I hadn't seen before but she was still on point and played her role down to the dot. In terms of comparison to her character in the book I did think she looked at times a bit too glamorous as opposed to the unkempt, messy alcoholic she is depicted as in the book, which is the reason Freddie stays away as he is embarrassed of her! Nevertheless she played the role brilliantly.
Shaun Evans played Jimmy and to be honest I don't think I have seen him in anything else before this. He was particularly good at playing the shy, quiet, eager to please cousin but he seemed slightly emotionless and a bit boring if I am honest, whereas in the book he seemed a bit more ballsy! In the last episode we see him grow a bit of backbone and stand up a bit but it all seems a bit flaky and to not too believable despite his actions. It sounds weird but I think they could have chosen someone a bit more interesting for this role but he was still an interesting watch.
Charlotte Riley is another actress whose acting I had not seen before, and again in comparison to the book I thought she suited quite well as the timid but beautiful sister who has everything her older sister desires. I felt in terms of air time her character was a bit back shadowed and not highlighted so much, whereas in the book she felt to me a more prominent character in terms of the storyline.
The children actors were all quite good, apart from they didn't seem to say much at times except being in the scene for dramatic presence I assume. Freddie Jnr as a murderous child (sorry to give some small clues away!) I felt was a bit poor in terms of his performance but I think as most his scenes were with Hardy he perhaps could have just been overshadowed.
- Overall -
Overall I really loved watching this and for £4.97 it was well worth every penny. Fans of Martina Cole will love watching it as it incorporates all the aspects she pretty much puts in all her books and it makes for an interesting and gripping watch.
It contains 4 episodes and has a run time of 176 minutes. It is rated 18 I think mainly for the frequent cursing language and there are a few minor violent scenes, but I have seen much worse. There are about 2 or 3 mild sex scenes which aren't too awful but of course little ones should avert their eyes! Disappointingly there are no extra scenes or bonus features on the DVD which I would have liked but nevertheless I am glad I bought it.
I would definitely recommend this DVD to anyone who likes a bit of Martina Cole's writing style and would like to see it on the big screen.
I was thrilled when I heard Martina Cole's book was being made into a drama as I am a big fan of her books and have read pretty much all of them!
There are 4 episodes on the DVD and trust me when you start watching them you won't be able to switch off!
The story is based around Freddie & Jimmy who are cousins who are part of Londons criminal underworld, they are married to sisters (Jackie & Maggie) and the story shows the family slowly falling apart due to Freddies dangerous carelessness and arrogance! It is unbelievable and well worth watching, I would recommend still reading the book as there are a few parts missing but this does not affect the main story line on the DVD.
If you are a true Martina Cole fan then you would have wondered like me how on earth they are going to be able to film scenes of some of the events that happen in the book, as Martina Cole tends to write a lot of story lines around sex, drugs and violence and some of the scenes could be very upsetting for some viewers, but the program was edited brilliantly, and even though some scenes were not very pleasant it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be (still not recommended for children though)
The two main characters are played by Tom Hardy (freddie) & Shaun Evans (Jimmy), which I think Freddie's character in the book is well played by Tom Hardy, but I think Jimmy's character didn't quite match the actor Shaun Evans for his looks, I would have expected him to be better looking!