Reviewed bySpikeopathVote: 9/10/10
To date this remains the only film Anthony Neilson has directed, infact, he also wrote it and his writing credits can also be counted onone hand. This is a crime, for The Debt Collector is a powerhouse film,a grim and grungy piece of British miserablism that serves to gnaw awayat your senses.
Billy Connolly stars as ex-con Nickie Dryden, who after release fromprison marries and tries to start afresh as an artist. But there is avengeful policeman on his tail, Gary Keltie (Ken Stott), who believesnobody should ever forget the crimes that Dryden perpetrated.
Stripping it down it's a tale of repercussions of actions, of perceivedretribution and of off-kilter hero worship. Right from the off you knowthis is a tragedy piece, something Shakespearian like, clearly we arenot in this part of Edinburgh to be cheered up! The colour photography(Dick Pope) is beautiful and belies the harsh nature of the story,while Neilson shows some splendid flighty camera work that gracefullymarries up with the great performances of his two lead actors.
It's a punch in the face movie, attention grabbing for sure, but italso taxes the brain. An unjustly neglected film that deserves to besought out by more lovers of gritty British cinema. 9/10
Footnote: Subtitles might be required for non British viewers.
Reviewed byMartin PollardVote: 8/10/10
This is an oddity: a British film that doesn't trade on its Britishness,instead relying on its strong plot and themes to carry it along. BillyConnolly's and Ken Stott's performances contrast pleasingly, the formerunderplaying his hopefully-reformed murderer, and the latter foaming at themouth with the sheer excesses of his anger.
The film touches on themes of forgiveness, justice and obsession, but laysno claim to easy solutions, instead trying its hardest to give a hard timeto all involved. Forgive but don't forget would seem to be themessage.
Unfortunately, its fast pace sometimes swamps opportunities for truecharacter development. At times saddening, at others horrificallydisturbing, The Debt Collector never manages to build enough empathy to betruly touching.
Reviewed byKifaru-2Vote: 8/10/10
This is a clever movie. Investigators try to get into the mind of acriminal and become them. That takes obsession, but what happens whenobsession takes you? It's a fact of life that most people would like tobe the tough, bad guy and this seems to be where this movie gets it'sideas. A life time on stage has prepared Connolly well. His performanceis admirable. Admittedly, it's been about 3 years since I seen thisfilm as I write this, though I remember strong feelings associated withit. There's something very real about it. I don't want to spoil thisfor anyone thinking of watching it, so I'll just say the "assualt"scene is particularly real and horrifically scary, as is the fightscene. No stupid Hollywood sound effects added to this one, and that'swhat makes it so damn scary because it doesn't seem as though it's justan act. If you like Connolly, check it out. If you like a thriller,same deal. If you like movies at all, there's no reason not to have apeek.
Mean, gritty, dirty and low and that's just the Policeman Gary Keltie (Ken Stott) out for retribution for the horrendous crimes against the helpless people of Edinburgh during the nineteen seventies, by notorious, torturous, and killer, debt collector Nickie Dryden (Billy Connolly). This is as hard as they come; giants of their professions one with a trade that needs to be kept secret and the other holding a grudge. Shot around the beautiful City of Edinburgh years later, with it coarse language and criminal underclass, we see the wrath of spite, hate, jealousy and violent vengeance all in the final showdown of justice and with it its uncompromising final debt to society.