Based on Ken Bruen’s novel of the same name, Blitz (18s) opens with a very Irish swagger, as rogue London copper DI Brant (Jason Statham) confronts three young car-jackers while wielding a hurley. A hurley, he tells them, is used in an Irish sport called hurling, which is halfway between hockey and murder. His off-beat credentials established, along with his role as vigilante cop, Brant proceeds to investigate the serial killing of London cops by a killer calling himself ‘the Blitz’ (Aiden Gillen), aided by his new superior, Porter Nash (Paddy Considine), who is himself an outsider within the force, due to the fact that he’s gay. A satisfyingly meaty tale, Blitz is directed with no little verve by Elliott Lester (‘Love is the Drug’), who blends idiosyncratic characters, a blistering pace and an intriguing whiff of right-wing polemic to create a fascinating thriller. There’s more than a touch of Dirty Harry about DI Brant, but Statham’s understated take on the role, and some very neat comic timing when delivering deliciously black one-liners, give the character a fresh feel. Considine provides strong support, as does David Morrissey as a reptilian tabloid journalist, while Gillen visibly relishes the opportunity to go full-tilt bonkers as the sociopathic killer. A sub-plot concerning itself with one of Brant’s colleagues, WPC Falls (Zawe Ashton), could have been excised, but otherwise Blitz is a powerful thriller that delivers a scabrous social commentary alongside the sturm und drang of Brant’s self-destructive force of nature. Oh, and watch out for a neat little cameo from Ken Bruen himself, as a - what else? - priest officiating at a funeral. - Declan Burke
Blitz goes on general release from May 20th.
“Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “A sheer pleasure.” – Tana French. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville. “The effortless cool of Elmore Leonard at his peak.” – Ray Banks. “A fine writer at the top of his game.” – Lee Child.