In many respects a conventional thriller set in London’s underworld, The Long Good Friday is much more densely plotted and intelligently scripted than most such yarns.
Bob Hoskins displays natural, and sizable, big-screen presence, and works out first-rate in the anchor role of a gangland boss faced with a series of seemingly gratuitous reprisals by unknown ill-wishers against his waterfront empire.
He starts as a larger-than-life figure, confidently negotiating American finance for a massive land development project. But Hoskins’ overweening exterior crumples as some of his best men are murdered.
When it becomes clear that his adversary is the provisional Irish Republican Army, he pits his Mafia-style muscle against the IRA’s professional terrorism.
The narrative is steered competently, but visual style is too stolid to lend due gut-impact.