"What happens when a professional killer violates the code? Get Carter!"
Jack Carter (Michael Caine) is a hard-nosed London gangster traveling home to Newcastle for his brother's funeral. Carter suspects that his brother's death was no accident, and sets out to find the truth. As he trawls through the murky underworld of Newcastle, the threat of violence is never far away, culminating in bloody, bitter sweet revenge.
Jack's journey starts in London with gang lords watching porn. He's warned not to go back north, but he ignores them and the opening credits show his drug fueled train journey home. He reads a classic hard boiled novel, Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler, and ironically shares a carriage with someone who has Jack in their sights in the final shot of the film.
"I'd almost forgotten what your eyes look like; still pissholes in the snow."
This is, perhaps, the ultimate British hardboiled film. In recent years there has been a glut of poor imitations, but this is the real thing. The harsh,industrial backdrop of Newcastle and Gateshead offer gritty realism. The dialogue is sharp and just what you'd hope for from this kind of film. Another dimension of Get Carter's brilliance is the soundtrack by Roy Budd.
The film is based on the Ted Lewis novel, Jack Returns Home. So many book to film adaptations are poor - normally so much of the narrative is omitted that the resultant film is an incomprehensible mess. Get Carter is very different, probably thanks to the fact that Ted Lewis helped in the adaptation.
Although the DVD is hardly laden with extras, this is an absolute must for any collection.