Saturday, 29 December 2007
I've been spending the last few evenings with a DVD just released by Optimum Films on Region 2. Their 2 disc special edition of RISE OF THE FOOTSOLDIER is an astonishing account of the infamous Rettendon 'Range Rover Murders', where a trio of Essex criminals were shot dead one cold December evening in 1995. I can vaguely remember reading about this case in the papers and watching TV accounts of this horrific act of violence, and now it seems the case could well be in the headlines again very soon. Julian Gilbey's film tells the story of Carlton Leach - ex football hooligan and nightclub bouncer - who associated with the murdered men, and tells his story, finishing with a RASHOMON-style account of what may have happened that fateful night. Two men are currently serving a life sentence for the murders. Predictably, the UK broadsheets (and a few of the tabloids) savaged this film, highlighting the extreme violence and writing it off as a thoroughly nasty piece of work, bereft of any redeeming features. While this has to be the most violent film I've ever clapped eyes on, I'd also hail it as one of the best British films in many a day. Over the course of the next week, I'll be posting my thoughts on this film and going through the background of the murders, explaining why I feel there may have been a miscarriage of justice. I'll also be looking at the DVD release, which has just made it as an eleventh hour addition to my Top 10 discs of 2007. More on my choices later this week.