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Customer Review

20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as much cop as it could have been, 25 April 2008
This review is from: He Kills Coppers [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
Jake Arnotts excellent novel He Kills Coppers was based on the real life murder of three policeman. The incident took place in Braybrook Street , Shepherds Bush on August 12th 1966. The murders were carried out by Harry Roberts, Jack Witney and John Duddy. Duddy subsequently died in prison while Witney was beaten to death after being released. Roberts is still in prison.
Billy Porter(Mel Raido) is based on Harry Roberts. He has left the army and fallen into a life of petty crime. Doted on by his mother Lily (Maureen Lipman) the revellery created by England's World Cup exploits mean nothing to him....indeed not much seems to. Career coppers Jonathon Young (Liam Garrigan) and Frank Taylor (Rafe Spall) are inseparable until they run into call girl Jeannie (Kelly Reilly). Both fall for her but she only has eyes for the more sensitive less brash Jonathon and this drives a wedge between the two friends.But when the paths of Jonathon and Billy Porter cross on a random stop and search it ends up with three officers gunned down in cold blood including the fleeing Jonathon .
The capture of Billy Porter becomes an obsession with Taylor as does capturing the heart of Jeannie.It has also become an obsession with reporter Tony Meehan( Steve Robertson) who see,s Porter as his ticket to the big time. Porter mean while goes underground-literally at one point- to evade capture and as the years slip by he attains almost mythic status but is never scared to use extreme force if he feels his liberty is under threat.
For prime time ITV drama this is uncompromising fare with profanity and serious violence. It also has a profound period feel. However He Kills Coppers is not altogether succesful as the powerful drama it pupports to be. It somehow fails to engage emotionally , relying too much on it,s fulsome period soundtrack to make the viewer empathise with the characters. That said the DVD version rather puzzingly dispenses with Dusty Springfield singing "I Close My Eyes And Count To Ten" for the pivotal shooting scene , something robs it of much of it,s punch-though it,s still powerful.
He Kills Coppers is also let down slightly by some of the performances.Mel Raido brings a low key eerie intensity to the role of Porter but Rafe Spall is unconvincing . He is either screaming in spittle spraying fury or wandering around with a dazed expression . Steve Robertson overdoes the twitchy neurosis of his character and its left to Maureen Lipman and Kelly Reilly to bring some tangible gravitas to proceedings.
The DVD has a perfunctory making of documentary with cast interviews. Compared to the previous Jake Arnott adaptation "The Long Firm" it,s hard to come to any conclusion other than that this is something of a missed oppurtunity . It,s worth veiwing once, but lacks the visceral emotional hook to reward repeated viewings. In short it,s not as much cop as it could have been.
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Location: halifax, west yorks

Top Reviewer Ranking: 1,591