This press release came through today, and admittedly the main reason it caught my eye was because it is the last movie the dear departed Tom Bell was in, who recently had a very touching cameo in the last episode of Prime Suspect. Then, of course, there's the director James Marquand, whose late father directed - get this - Return of the Jedi! Read on...
Recalling the gritty and violent realism of John Mackenzie's The Long Good Friday, and Martin Scorsese's Mean Streets, Dead Man's Card is a modern-day thriller/western set in the unforgiving underworld of Liverpool's gangster-run clubland.
This impressive debut feature from director James Marquand stars Paul Barber, Samantha Janus, Gary Mavers, Andrew Schofield, James McMartin and, in what has proved to be the final feature film performance of his career, veteran British actor Tom Bell.
A once-successful boxer now down on his luck and struggling with financial and marital problems, Tom is offered work as a bouncer working the door of Billy's Bar, a rundown nightclub located on the outskirts of Liverpool's city centre. His fellow doorman, Paul, is a volatile and battle-hardened veteran of the job, an ex-soldier who respects Tom for the fighter he was once was. But Tom is soon introduced to the sinister side of the business when Chongi, the head of the city's largest security firm, stakes an interest in Billy's Bar and reveals he has a score to settle with Paul. As the tension and ensuing violence escalates, Tom is forced to question his loyalties and decide whether or not he still has any fight left in him.
The performances in Dead Man's Card - particularly from the recently departed Tom Bell, the grossly under-rated Paul Barber and newcomer James McMartin - are hugely impressive and first-time director James Marquand is clearly a talent to keep an eye on.