Original Gangster - Film Review

Updated: Mar 30

★★★

Written & Directed by: #SavvasDMichael

Starring: #AlexMills, #SteveGuttenberg, #IanReddington, #DanielCaltagirone, #VasBlackwood

Film Review by Taryll Baker

Poster for Original Gangster

The stoic chronicles of Castor, orphaned as a child, forced to survive in the wild and his colourful journey through the criminal underworld of London.


Savvas D. Michael’s new bloodthirsty gangster flick, Original Gangster blasts viewers into the story of underdog Castor (Alex Mills); his parents killed when he was a child, he learns the ropes of the criminal underworld under the guidance of Milo (Ian Reddington), a toxic kingpin sick with the immaturity of Castor’s actions. As the tests and trials pile up and Castor adapts to his new way of life, consequences mount and exciting action explodes.


Set against the grimy backdrop of London, this gritty crime drama packs a brutal punch with some strong leading performances from Mills and Reddington in a high-energy, violent exploration of gangster life. Castor’s growth throughout the film is the biggest pull, the story places all focus on cause and effect, his adaption to his new “leaders” and his evolution into his own man. Mills brings a lot of great energy to his performance as Castor; capturing the innocence and naivety that remained when his parents died, but also the sense of adulthood creeping in under those splitting cracks. Scenes are most enjoyable when he’s alongside Reddington. Their on-screen dynamic is quite entertaining, especially since their characters are essentially polar opposites.


Where Original Gangster succeeds in character writing, it falters in its visual look. A majority of the visual effects work seems a little underworked; muzzle flashes looking rather unfitting in the light of the scenes, and some of the blood work is amateur at best. Thankfully, the story is inviting enough and maintains a steady pace from the beginning (almost) to the end, and the brutal atmosphere established is solid. That said, this is a gangster film and a result of that is the reality that most of the characters are extremely unlikeable. In fact, the only likeable one, even with his questionable and unforgivable actions, is Castor. That’s a testament to Mills and the charm he found in the character. His efforts do not go unnoticed within the chaos, and when a certain beat hits in the story, there’s a turning point that changes Castor forever. However, the film does begin to slog from this point on, which is unfortunate given the fairly speedy first hour.


Original Gangster features a great soundtrack which accompanies the performances well, but once the gas runs out, the remaining final act takes the long road and slowly simmers as the story runs out of ammunition. Though a perfect choice for gangster film lovers, there’s not too much on show for the rest of us.


Original Gangster will be available on DVD & Digital Download from 5th April and can be pre-ordered here


- #TaryllBaker