THE KRAYS: DEAD MAN WALKING (2018) Reviews and overview

 

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‘Based on the true story’

The Krays: Dead Man Walking is a 2018 British crime drama focusing on the break out of Frank ‘The Mad Axeman’ Mitchell from Dartmoor Prison.

Written and directed by Richard John Taylor (The Huntress of Auschwitz; The Haunting of Pendle Hill; VengeanceMuse). Produced by Steve Beecham, Jonathan Sothcott and Richard Watts-Joyce.

The Hereford Films production stars Rita Simons, Josh Myers, Christopher Ellison, Guy Henry, Nicholas Ball, Jeanine Nerissa Sothcott, Leslie Grantham, Marc Pickering and Nathanjohn Carter.

Due to the financial success of the film, writer and director Richard John Taylor immediately announced a sequel, entitled The Krays: New Blood which will be released in 2022.

Plot:

Inspired by true events, the shocking story of London’s most feared and notorious brothers Reggie and Ronnie Kray as they arrange for Frank ‘The Mad Axeman’ Mitchell to escape from Dartmoor Prison in December 1966.

Intent on displaying their power to Detective Nipper Read, their plan starts to unravel as the twin’s henchmen Donoghue and Teddy struggle to control an increasingly unstable Mitchell, and reluctantly call in help from a corrupt politician named Lord Boothby, and nightclub hostess Lisa Prescott.

As Christmas Day approaches, tensions reach boiling point and the Krays realise that The Mad Axeman has become a liability, and are forced to take drastic action…

Reviews:

“Small gripes aside, The Krays: Dead Man Walking is a gripping crime movie with a handful of central performances that give it a level of quality above most other British crime movies going straight to DVD and a raw level of brutality that normally gets glossed over when it comes to covering the Kray Twins. It does play fast and loose with a few facts for the sake of storytelling but this is a movie and is supposed to entertain…”  Flickering Myth

“The film is efficiently shot and has a tight 80-minute running time and so never out stays its welcome. The music is fantastic and contributes to a production value that belies the presumably small budget […] Fans of the British gangster film aren’t as well served by the genre as they have been in the past and The Krays – Dead Man Walking proves a welcome addition to the milieu…” London Post

“Josh Myers gives an unnerving performance as Mitchell, and it’s achingly sad to see Leslie Grantham in his final performance […] while it obviously won’t be for all tastes, if you like Brit indie gangster flicks with a mean streak, this certainly passes the time, even if it does feel like a feature-length teaser for something bigger.” On: Yorkshire

“The film is lean at just 75 minutes but never outstays it’s welcome and leaves you wanting more. For me, the only thing that lets the film down is the inclusion of a miscast Darren Day in a throwaway role […] But minor quibble aside like the twins themselves, this smart, gritty, violent and stylish thriller never outstays its welcome and leaves a lasting impression.” Phil’s

” …a great example of the art of storytelling, that goes beyond just an excellent script but really follows things up in its directorial effort that serves to bring things alive rather than be self-serving, that knows where to leave things out for maximum effect, and that welcomely stays away from any postmodern re-interpretations of the genre but keeps things straightforward in spite of the complex story.” Search My Trash

Cast and characters (in credits order):

Rita Simons … Lisa Prescott
Josh Myers … Frank Mitchell
Christopher Ellison … Albert Donoghue
Guy Henry … Lord Boothby
Nicholas Ball … Harry Webster
Jeanine Nerissa Sothcott … Valerie Fiske
Leslie Grantham … Nipper Read
Marc Pickering … Reggie Kray
Nathanjohn Carter … Ronnie Kray
Triana Terry … Frances Kray
Charlie Woodward … Teddy Smith
Darren Day … Don Dunn
Linda Lusardi … Sally Mitchell
Steve Wraith … Hartnell Harris
Lowri Watts-Joyce … Mavis Mortimer
Gary Lammin … Barman
Lacey Bond … Petula Watts
Adrian Videla … Waiter
Ayda Kay … Maitre d’

Technical details:

1 hour 19 minutes

Release:

In the UK, the film was released on 10th September 2018 by Sony Pictures and was the biggest first week on DVD of any non-theatrical British film that year.

Related:

KRAYS: CODE OF SILENCE (2021) Reviews, trailer and release news

Notes:

The Krays: Mad Axeman (2019) is based on the same true events although it was originally written and performed as a play in 1997 starring Martin Freeman.

Trailer:

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