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USA, 2008, 70 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Documentary, Foreign, Gangster
Program: Documentary FilmsLanguage: English
DIRECTOR: Nicola Collins
Producer: Darryn Welch, (executive) Chris Ouwinga, Teena CollinsEditor: Noah RosensteinScreenwriter: Nicola CollinsCinematographer: Nicola CollinsPrincipal Cast: Les Falco, Bobby Reading, Jimmy Tibbs, Victor Dark, Danny Woollard, Roy Shaw
The End is filmed largely in black and white. Its message is anything but. In it, director Nicola Collins—whose twin sister, Teena, serves as coproducer—interviews her father Les Falco and his cronies, all members of London’s underworld, about their lives. Deftly and unflinchingly, Collins records the memories of this aging criminal fraternity. Set in the city’s violent East End, their stories are rife with brutality and bloodshed—but, somehow, she manages to frame them without judgment. Indeed, in counterpoint to her gritty visual style and industrial soundtrack, she captures glimmers of humanity in the now grizzled faces of these notorious Cockney gangsters—who still crave respect, abide by their criminal code of honor, and talk as freely about their families, friendships, and God as they do about murder.
The documentary begins with historic footage of a burned-out London during World War II. Poor kids, Les and his friends tried to survive without much money, food, or adult supervision in the East End. They pilfered what they needed. Says one of Collins’s interviewees—Victor Dark, Mickey Goldtooth, and “Pretty Boy” Roy Shaw among them—“All the people down there was brought up on boxing and pigeon shit.” What they now call “a little bit of villainy” grew into a life of crime. Guns, knives, acid, and knuckledusters were their weapons of choice—and soon enough it became “way too easy to kill someone.” Most of them served prison time; most were stabbed or shot at least once. Some have no regrets; others cringe at the harm they’ve done.
Before directing her feature debut—which she also wrote and shot—Collins worked as a fashion model for Elle, Vogue, and others. With her twin, she also appeared in Guy Ritchie’s Snatch in 2001.
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