HARRIGAN REVIEW: A violent tale of 70s Britain

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HARRIGAN packs a punch... and then a few more.

The background to the story is hard-hitting enough as viewers are taken back to the power failures, police cuts and short working weeks of the mid-1970s.

Add to that the unruly mob Detective Sergeant Harrigan returns to battle after fighting corruption in Hong Kong, and you have a big bruiser of a movie.

Sink estates are rife with crime and it is left to individual coppers to stamp out the festering violence.

While not being an overly gory film, there is little imagination needed when it comes to the brutality – and viewers will never hear Amazing Grace in the same way again.

The settings are well picked and are a character in their own right.

The North-East has come a long way since the 1970s, but the locations have been tweaked perfectly to capture the desperation of the time.

The film is the phrase ‘it’s grim up North’ captured in 90 minutes of action.

It could be argued that the locations don’t come across in the best light, but this is the movie business and everything is cranked up to the maximum for added drama and emotion.

Hartlepool’s Carr Street is depicted as an estate on the edge or anarchy and gets a real starring role as the setting of some of the biggest moments.

Car fires, gunshots and a man in a clown mask are hard to forget in a hurry.

The storyline, which is delivered by director Vince Woods and writer Arthur McKenzie, a decorated cop from Newcastle, is relentless in its intensity.

Many moviegoers will be leaving the cinema wondering how many of Mr McKenzie’s stories within the film are true.

I’ve been told the real ones are in the majority and even that some were left out as they were too unbelievable.

Despite the film looking back 40 years, it could not be more timely as it is impossible to sit through the scenes without drawing parallels with today’s climate: police forces being cut back, the economy failing and high unemployment.

It asks a lot of questions and I’d recommend you pop along to see it this Friday and to see if you can find the answers.

After all, when was the last time you could watch Hartlepool feature on the big screen?