Directed by J.K. Amalou.
Starring Danny Dyer, Anouska Mond, Gary Kemp, Martin Kemp, Holly Weston and Eddie Webber.
A hitman falls for a beautiful exotic dancer before discovering that his last hit was her dodgy businessman father, forcing him to turn against his ruthless employers to try and save her life.
Is it possible that Danny Dyer’s name could be used as rhyming slang for ‘tryer’? Because despite having a reputation as something of a numpty you can’t knock his ability for trying to be taken seriously, and in London-based gangster thriller Assassin he actually does a decent job.
Which is kind of odd as it wasn’t that long ago that Dyer himself said in the press that he wanted to take on different types of role, so starring in a gangland revenge movie with brothers Gary and Martin Kemp (The Krays) is hardly a stretch but here Dyer takes things a little slower, is more considered and understated, and goes some way to achieving that credible performance he’s been chasing.
But before we get too excited about that and start dishing awards out it is worth noting that Assassin is hardly Goodfellas, despite sharing executive producers. The plot itself is pretty simple and sticks to familiar themes – Jamie (Dyer) is a hitman hired by gangster brothers John (Gary Kemp) and Lee (Martin Kemp) Alberts to kill dodgy businessman Tony Boyd who is blocking their plans to build a new club, but while Jamie is planning his move he falls for sexy dancer Chloe (Holly Weston) and after his hit is done he discovers that Chloe is Boyd’s daughter. The trouble really begins, though, when Chloe starts trying to piece together what happened and connects her father’s death to the Alberts brothers, which puts them on the defensive and puts Jamie in the position of trying to protect his new girlfriend and keep his employers happy.
So the plot is solid enough, albeit nothing new, and Danny Dyer does enough with what he’s given to make his performance stand out amongst his body of work but the main problem with Assassin is the supporting cast who all manage to make what could have been a tense and edgy thriller into something closer to Eastenders, in which Dyer regularly stars and Martin Kemp used to, funnily enough. The worst of the culprits is Anouska Mond as Chloe’s friend Alex, who seems to be respond to everything with a bewildered look and the vocal expression of a guest on The Jeremy Kyle Show, but it is Gary and Martin Kemp who disappoint the most. Seemingly cast to trade in on their turn as Ronnie and Reggie Kray a quarter of a century ago, both actors seem unable to deliver their lines with any conviction and seem to be relying on the fact that they can stare quite menacingly. Gary Kemp’s John is given a disability, presumably to add a bit of depth to what is a pretty thinly written character, and physically he conveys the necessary attributes but his stilted delivery seems to sap any air of menace out of his scenes and neither him nor his brother really pose that much of a threat despite everyone they meet apparently being scared of them.
Nevertheless, Assassin will probably prove to be quite popular with those into their British crime movies as it looks pretty good with some stunning wide shots of London in various different lights, and for Danny Dyer it’s something of a step up from his usual performance and will hopefully be seen as a defining moment for him, but otherwise Assassin is a little bit too underwhelming in the areas where it should have been stronger.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★/ Movie: ★ ★