Harvey Keitel Movie Top Ten




review by Scott M, September 1999 (First published F&F 10)
©1999 F&F Publishing

I couldn't believe this book, compiled by film author Jack Hunter, featuring his personal 'Top Ten' of Harvey's best films or performances, featured a chapter on 'Copkiller' (aka 'Order of Death' & 'Corrupt' etc). As I said in the last issue the film is so underground, not many people seem to know it, let alone respect it. I'm a big Keitel fan, and I'd probably have bought this book anyway, with or without Copkiller, I've got a previous Keitel biography, The Art of Darkness, and it only has one line about the movie in it (and all it basically says is that Keitel made a whole bunch of movies in the early eighties including Corrupt that went straight to video in the US), so to see a whole chapter on the movie in this book was a real surprise.

The chapter on Copkiller is written by film critic David Prothero, and I have to say it's refreshing to read a review of the film that comes from a non-Pistols point of view. Prothero is obviously a big fan of the movie, in fact he calls it, "Undoubtedly one of Kietel's finest films"! He makes the link between Copkiller and Keitel's classic, Bad Lieutenant. Something I've thought about myself, there's obviously a few links between the characters, both are obsessed corrupt New York cops for starters... Another parallel he brings is to compare the movie and Lydon's role, to Performance and Mick Jagger. I'd never thought of that before, but I can see where he's coming from, he describes the blurring of Lydon's stage persona with his on screen character, and I'd go for that. Leo Smith's mixture of arrogance and cynicism, not to mention the fact that Lydon wears his own clothes throughout the film, provides good evidence to this claim (he even throws a few Johnny Rotten tantrums!).

As well as a brief outline of the plot, the review features character analysis and background information on the stars and producers, much of which I didn't know. The book also features chapters on the likes of Reservoir Dogs, Clockers, Mean Streets, Bad Lieutenant & From Dusk Till Dawn, so there's plenty of good reading in there. The chapter on Copkiller only lasts ten pages, and there's only a couple of b&w pics, nothing unusual, but if you're a fan of movie I'd recommend getting it. As I say its an interesting review, and full of good behind-the-scenes info. Check it out...

The book can be ordered direct by mail order from CREATION BOOKS, for £12.95 (inc p&p). Please mention F&F. CREATION BOOKS, 83 CLERKENWELL RD, LONDON, ECIR 5AR.


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