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Friday, May 18, 2007

Hoskins Disease

Lots of speculation about how The Sopranos might end: in a bloodbath; with a whimper; in a simpering bloodbath, maybe, where Tony breaks down in tears and a disgusted Carmela cracks his skull with that heavy-metal esspresso maker Paulie gave them; a Scorcese ending, Goodfellas or Casino or Depahted - your choice of homage.

Of my own two favorite endings to gangster movies, I'd reckon the closing-of-the-door on The Godfather was a non-, er, starter; way too tacky that would be. But the other one - well, it struck me today, it has possibilities: including a setup, and more importantly an obscurity, if indeed an homage there must be?

If you've never seen The Long Good Friday - you know, the one where Bob Hoskins plays a London gangster whose operation is on the brink of a major expansion he's put together "Wiv' our friends from across the pond" but finds instead his best-laid crafties being carefully torn apart by the London-end of the IRA in response to a trivial, if unwitting, double-cross - well, if you've never seen it then you have missed the best ending to any gangster movie evah!

Hoskins thinks he's whupped the Provos, given them a thumping they won't forget and scared them away with tails between legs. But stepping out his "office" one day, he sees his wife - Helen Mirren - being driven away speedily in back of a car, pressing hands and her screaming face to the window. His own limo pulls up and Hoskins jumps in, only to discover that his driver and bodyguard are not, in fact, his cockney-sparra worthies after all, but the very pair of IRA hitmen who've been causing him so much grief. Pierce Brosnan being one of them - looking younger and pimplier even than Bobbo himself.

And so the movie ends with Hoskins' gangster being driven off to his inevitable demise; but it ends squarely focused on Hoskins' face, sat in the back seat of the car, in full knowledge of what has come to pass. And that face - the suppressed rage, ironic recognition, the disgust that Hoskins portrays as his character puts together in his mind just how badly he's been played - that face to my mind trumps Michael Corleone's study door, and every other Gangster movie ending.

This is not at all a prediction. Rather, it is one of those "I knew I should have written that: now nobody will believe me!" preventative posts against the unlikely event that Tony Soprano, at the end of his Last Episode, should find himself sat in the back seat of an SUV with a couple of smiling islamic terrorists for companions, slowly screwing a silencer into the end of a pistol; the same two that, last week, he shopped to the Feds over sandwiches at Satriales.

The Sopranos is ending, at last: terrific show, but its day is well past. Time to go, and for HBO to give us something better, something new.

It's not the only thing that's ending neither: I'm pleased to report that Beardie handed-in his cards last week, and that next Friday - a long-time-coming-but- really-good Friday - will be his last day in his present employment.

He does not expect he'll be whacked in the back seat of his motor, being driven "home" by a pair of grinning project managers. But then, who ever does?

No: he expects to be spending the following two weeks with his larded arse sprawled in his pool, baking in the SoCal sunshine while lazily reading-up on the new work he'll be starting after that.


Blogger DarkoV said...

Well, Congratulations!

There's rare the time when one can be as thoroughly entertained by one's actions than when one's putting in the resignation letter.

No burning bridges, though. Right?
And no more trips to Chicago?

Bake away, FCB.

12:56 PM  
Blogger Whisky Prajer said...

Two weeks in a SoCal pool is sounding pretty good to me, too. Congrats on the new work. And although I think Ganolfini's face is capable of many subtle transformations, I rather doubt he can pull off the nearly-comic level of poisonous self-hatred that Hoskins does. It'll be curious to see what JG's face is capable of, though.

11:35 AM  
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