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Studying the British Crime Film$
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Paul Elliott

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781906733742

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781906733742.001.0001

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The Post-Millennial Gangster Film

The Post-Millennial Gangster Film

Chapter:
(p.33) Chapter Two: The Post-Millennial Gangster Film
Source:
Studying the British Crime Film
Author(s):

Paul Elliott

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781906733742.003.0003

This chapter examines the post-millennial gangster film. It begins by differentiating between Gangster Heavy and Gangster Light. The chapter then describes how the protagonist of the post-millennial gangster film (with a few notable exceptions) comes not from the ranks of the Mafioso or the well-organised criminal fraternity but from the door of the nightclub or the big city back street. They are small-time operators or part of a close-knit street crew and unlike their more ethical forebears, their main source of income is drugs. Moreover, their on-screen violence is often more graphic and detailed. The post-millennial gangster film has in more recent years begun to examine street and knife crime, and the gangsters themselves have become ever younger, as the surrounding society seeks to come to terms with widely disseminated images of youth gangs and rioting. Thus, the chapter looks at the sons, daughters, and even grandchildren of gangsters and asks how they fit in with the story of British cinema. What emerges is a depiction of gang culture that is tinged with issues of class, race, and gender as British cinema seeks to represent a society shaped by changes in Government, socio-economics, and, as the first decade of the new millennium progressed, increasing anxieties over issues such as knife crime, immigration, and youth violence.

Keywords:   post-millennial gangster film, Gangster Heavy, Gangster Light, street crime, knife crime, youth gangs, British cinema, gang culture, immigration, youth violence

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