W 11 Blu Ray review

Matthew Sweet, in his short but very well produced, interview nails the issue around Michael Winner. He was a director that missed his generation as a B movie master. He tireless chased what was in vouge and made a mixed bag of films. He became a pastiche of himself and though he was unwell in later life, never shied away from working. His films most remembered are of course DEATH WISH and APPOINTMENT WITH DEATH. However I will always remember him for his gritty LAWMAN. Winner worked across genre and produced a film within budget and to box office takings.

Ostensibly a kitchen sink drama about the lifes of ordinary folk, it traverses the decay and dirt of W11 of the post war period. The dirt is nailed on the walls and the poverty is everywhere you care to turn to. W11 follows a younger occupant of this world, Joe (Alfred Lynch) from dead end job to the street and the slum he lives in. When a Richard Dyce (Eric Portman) takes an interest in him, we expect it probably is sexual. However, he suggest that Joe could be the man for a spot of murder. The subject, Dyce’s rich older sister. All he need do is travel down to the coast to do it. Joe is not keen but then a broken relationship and the death of his mother, drive him to do something he will regret.

Sweet also mentions Joseph Losey, who was within touching distance of making W11. His decision not to, gave Winner an opening. This is why W11 is actually more interesting than first appearances. Winner became the British B movie maker of exploitation because he knew what people wanted and how to express it to them. Grot, grim, dirt and sex. All are here for the youth of post war London to consume. Joe is an antihero but he is a hero. His manner is more fuck you hierarchy then acceptance of the status Quo. What the narrative does is motivate him but actually, I would have liked to live in his London for two hours, without the action reaction, set up pay off. This is both where the film and Winner direction comes alive. Sadly few will remember Winner’s work as they should, that of a talented man without which we would have lost some of the greats of our film industry.


Interview with Film Historian Matthew Sweet
Original Theatrical Trailer

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