Get Carter is a superior crime action meller. Michael Caine stars as an English hood seeking vengeance for the murder of his brother. Mike Hodges’ top-notch adaptation of a Ted Lewis novel not only maintains interest but conveys with rare artistry, restraint and clarity the many brutal, sordid and gamy plot turns.
Lewis’ novel, Jack’s Return Home, is adapted by Hodges into a fast-moving screenplay in which episodes of compounded criminal double-crossing build gradually but steadily to a logical if ironic climax.
The curious death of Caine’s brother triggers his departure from London, where he is a key torpedo for gangsters Terence Rigby and John Bindon, to his Newcastle home, where John Osborne (the playwright) appears the area crime boss. In tracking down his brother’s murderer, Caine encounters the full spectrum of contemporary crime, including pornographic pix (in which his niece Petra Markham has been innocently compromised), drugs, high-stakes gambling, and vicious give-and-take retribution.