REVIEW: Al’s Lads (written by Marc Gee)

There can never be enough opportunities and venues for showcasing good honest local talent and top marks must go to The Light Cinema in New Brighton for making the decision to start the ball rolling with the screening of Al’s Lads. Originally filmed entirely on location in Liverpool by Alchemy Pictures, Al’s Lads was released for the big screen back in June 2002. and was written by local playwright, author, entrepreneur and all round top bloke Marc Gee. Dave Thompson reviews…

The film was given two screenings on the day and each one was bolstered at the end by the appearance of Marc himself. The audience had the ideal opportunity to gain a further insight into the making of the movie through a “grill the writer” Q&A session, again something for which The Light should be applauded.

The film itself is set in 1927 at the peak of the American mob culture. Three Liverpool born cruise-ship waiters find themselves embroiled having jumped ship to seek their fortune. Jimmy (Marc Warren) and his two close friends suddenly find themselves working for Al Capone who’s bodyguards realise Jimmy has no shortage of boxing ability and recruit Boom Boom (Richard Rowntree) to ready him for the ring. As the plot thickens Capone’s son gets kidnapped, some dangerous love triangles emerge and the almost inevitable “down in the 5th” orders are sent to the dressing room. All in all a good plot, well crafted with no end of twists and turns along the way.

Marc’s script writing ability is evident from the start albeit often peppered in delivery with the usual level of actor “scousekill” within some of the dialogue, there is no shortage of colourful language (sometimes needless) and a generous splattering of quirky one-liners. It is fair to say that although Al’s Lads itself was no box-office smash it is a very enjoyable movie and well worth watching with a take-away and a fine bottle of red.

Reverting back to the local theme we must not forget the talents and achievement of Marc Gee. His passion for writing remains as he recently released his second book and another film Fredonia is almost in the can. We should (but rarely do) allow him no end of “chest-puffing” by pointing out that following the release his work was screened worldwide, including America where typically the movie somehow manifested itself into Capone’s Boys. How many local lads can match that boast?

Thanks to The Light cinema for the local latent theme and long may it continue hopefully with increased media coverage. Whilst the “new” New Brighton skyline may not be aesthetically pleasing it is certainly more lively and vibrant, providing great entertainment, dining opportunities bringing a much needed freshness to this area of the Wirral coastline.

Words by: Dave Thompson



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