Get Carter is a classic neo noir from 1971 directed by Mike Hodges and starring Michael Caine. The film is based on the classic noir book of the same name by Ted Lewis. Another book on my “To Read” list.
This film is simple in its plot, but executed to perfection. The story opens with Jack Carter, played by Caine, hanging with his buddies in London, but doesn’t seem to be having as good a time as they are. His friends are gangsters as well and warn him about going up north. Carter’s friends relay the sentiment that he should not go up north, even though Carter is a killer, they are all killers up there. Carter’s brother has died and Carter thinks he was killed. Carter of course goes anyway and we meet his family as they bury his brother. His brother was drunk and drove off a bridge to his death is the official cause of death. As Carter is back in his hometown, he soon connects with some of his old friends and starts looking into the mystery.
As the film continues and Carter climbs his way up the ladder to the person responsible for his brother’s death we run into the illegal porn industry, corrupt business men, and of course gangsters. Will Carter get his revenge? Is he just a pawn in a bigger game? Will he find out more than he ever wanted to?
This film has a lot of supporting characters who standout in this film. Future Bond Girl Britt Ekland has a small part, which she was reluctant to do. She needed the money and of course made the film, afterwards she was happy with her work in this film. Ian Hendry was originally going to play Carter, but instead played one of Carter’s acquaintances from his hometown. Geraldine Moffat played a small but pivotal role as a moll who catches Carter’s eye.
This is a must see for fans of neo noir and British noir, as it is one of the best films from Britain made in the 1970’s or maybe ever. Skip the remake with Stallone and just re-watch this classic instead.
This also has a nice noir Easter egg as Carter is seen reading Raymond Chandler’s Farewell My Lovely.
Favorite Tidbit: This film was originally rated X for its intense violence and nudity, but has been reclassified R as crime films continued to push the limit of the rating system.