Gangster No. 1

User Score
8.7

Universal acclaim- based on 42 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 37 out of 42
  2. Negative: 3 out of 42
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  1. LarryB.
    Oct 6, 2002
    2
    Systematic, sustained violence, heavily foreshadowed, is the main character in this movie. next comes the unrequited but driving homoeroticism. oh, and don't forget the mysogyny... an excellent example of film as excess enthralled with itself.
  2. WinstonJ.
    May 16, 2006
    2
    This is a painfully bad film, though stylish to a degree. It betrays its origins as a play throughout. Whereas a film like Closer, for instance, achieved the transition from stage to screen with some good results, this fails miserably. In particular, the progression from the Sixties to modern day is ludicrous: summaries of the Seventies (a shot of Sid Vicious), and Eighties (snorting This is a painfully bad film, though stylish to a degree. It betrays its origins as a play throughout. Whereas a film like Closer, for instance, achieved the transition from stage to screen with some good results, this fails miserably. In particular, the progression from the Sixties to modern day is ludicrous: summaries of the Seventies (a shot of Sid Vicious), and Eighties (snorting cocaine) are perfunctory, and the 'ageing' of the actors - powdered wigs etc. - is ludicrous. McDowell is a terrible miscasting; the scene between him and the older Frank is excruciatingly bad. And the phoney East-End accents? Bettany's performance redeems it marginally (who could forget "this is my favourite axe..."). Otherwise, this is a trainwreck. To be avoided. Expand
Metascore
60

Mixed or average reviews - based on 15 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 15
  2. Negative: 2 out of 15
  1. 38
    See it only for Paul Bettany's performance.
  2. A canny, derivative, wildly gruesome portrait of a London sociopath who's the scariest of sadists, in part because he's also a very courtly one.
  3. The movie's key asset is young Bettany as a worthy successor to the "Clockwork Orange" tradition of McDowell. With Bettany, a star is born, even if his character is horrific.