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The Take (2009)

the take

Set in the East End of London, The Take is a gripping television drama set in the criminal underworld. Starring Tom Hardy and Brian Cox, this four-part show is a masterclass in story telling and full of incredible performances.

Now whilst not necessarily a film, I thought I would make an exception and review something that people really need to see. That’s ultimately what I set out to do when I created this site, and it’s about time I unearthed a hidden gem that some of you (or anyone outside of the UK) may not have heard of.

The Take is a four episode TV series made in the UK and based upon the Martina Cole novel. It  stars Tom Hardy, Brian Cox, Shaun Evans, Kierston Wareing and Charlotte Riley.

the take

Freddie Jackson (Tom Hardy) is just out of prison. He’s done his time, made the right connections and now he’s ready to use them. His wife Jackie (Kierston Wareing) dreams of having her husband home but she’s forgotten the rows and the girls Freddie can’t leave alone. His younger cousin, Jimmy (Shaun Evans), dreams of making a name for himself on Freddie’s coattails. At first Freddie gets everything he ever wanted and Jimmy is taken along for the ride: a growing crime empire that gives them all the respect and money they’ve hungered for. But behind it all sits Ozzy (Brian Cox) – the legendary criminal godfather who manipulates Freddie and Jimmy’s fates from behind the bars of his prison cell.

the take

The four episodes are spread out over the period of ten years throughout the eighties, and as time goes on the families grow as the couples have children. The Take goes to places most other films and tv shows wouldn’t dare, and some scenes are very unpleasant and unsettling to watch. I won’t spoil them here as the shock factor is part of what makes The Take so good, just not knowing what direction the show, or mainly Freddie, will go in.

After his incredible performance in The Dark Knight Rises, I really wanted to re-visit some of Tom Hardy’s previous work. I had seen The Take when it originally aired over here in 2009, but after watching it again he delivers in my opinion the best performance of his career and far exceeds his work as Bronson and Bane. Freddie Jackson is a horrible, evil character, and yet I couldn’t take my eyes off him. The tagline says ‘he has issues’ and boy does he. Violent, cheating on his wife, neglectful father, rapist………just some of the traits Freddie has.

the take

The rest of the cast are equally superb. Brian Cox is obviously the most famous name, and he delivers a superb performance as always as the head mobster who never leaves his prison setting. Kierston Wareing plays the helpless, put-upon wife and mother to Freddie’s children to perfection. Normally drunk, to numb the pain of being with Freddie obviously, as the episodes progress her character Jackie sinks lower and lower but ultimately she can’t face life without Freddie, however bad he may be. Freddie’s cousin Jimmy, Shaun Evans is brilliant, starting out as a nervous, shy puppy dog looking up to Freddie, to eventually being the top man and trying to de-throne his cousin. A great character transformation, and kudos to Evans for a great performance. Finally, Charlotte Riley who plays Maggie is superb as Jimmy’s loving wife, and part of a couple that Freddie and Jackie are jealous of, in their own private ways. Maggie is a brilliant character, and again her transformation and what she is subjected to throughout the film makes for a brilliant but heartbreaking watch, and just shows off how good Charlotte Riley is as an actress. I doubt she will ever better her performance here.

the take

However, The Take is all about one man; Tom Hardy. As I mentioned above, this is the finest performance from him I have ever seen, and maybe even one of the greatest performances in any TV show or film, he really is that good. It’s easy to see why he is so in demand in Hollywood now, he just becomes this character and portrays him with terrifying realism. Certainly miles ahead of any other British gangster portrayal I can remember, and the haunting moment in one particularly horrible scene when he just says ‘no, I don’t think so‘ and proceeds with an act is one of the most disturbing moments in anything I have ever seen.

the take

If you like Tom Hardy now you will love him after seeing this. Whether you think the subject matter may be too harsh, (whilst The Take received praise for all its performances, the violent nature was criticised by the press over here – because all people in the UK seem to want to watch is reality shows!) if you can see this somewhere I honestly think the majority of people will be blown away by how good it is. It is available on DVD and I just hope it is for sale or on-demand somewhere near you if you are interested in seeing this. Visually it captures the period of time it was set in perfectly, and with performances as good as this, with an incredible story, The Take is an astounding pice of work and one which should be seen by everyone who has any interest in fine acting and the British underworld.

Ratings09

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20 Comments

  1. This sounds really interesting. I’ll have to check it out.

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    • It’s brilliant, one of the finest TV shows I’ve seen mate. Hope you do get chance to see it. Hardy is incredible, I cannot state this enough!! 🙂

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  2. Sounds brilliant! I’ll have to see if it’s on Netflix!

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    • I hope it is, truly is a great watch! I have no idea if it’s available to stream or on DVD in the rest of the world, but it deserves to be seen! 🙂

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  3. Hmmm. I must have missed that when it was on telly. It is nice to see Brian Cox working in England for a change, lol. Ms Cole has a pretty dedicated following and think that this is just one of her books that has been adapted for telly. Great review, you painted a good picture. Good enough that I’m going to have to hunt this one down. And yes, the ‘great’ British public do love their reality television. Ugh.

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    • Sorry Mike, no idea why I didnt reply to this, swear I did!! I hope you did manage to track this down 🙂

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      • No worries mate. I have to occasionally go through my comments and check that I’ve answered everyone! I haven’t tracked it down yet, the search has been OBE’d (Overcome by events, lol) cheers mate!! 😀

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  4. Definitely sounds interesting. I’ll look for this one online. Thanks for the recommendation.

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  5. You didn’t have to say much to convince me – I consider myself a huge Hardy fan and yet I’m ashamed to say that I knew nothing about this one. Great review – I’ll start tracking it down. Thanks a lot for the recommendation!

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    • Thanks for the comment! That’s why I bent the rules slightly and reviewed a tv show, as I felt it was probably missed by a lot of people yet deserved to be seen. Honestly, as a Hardy fan I hope you are as blown away by his performance as I was. He was incredible! Let me know what you think if you manage to track it down 🙂

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      • Sure thing, I’ll let you know hopefully soon! Once I have got hold of it I’ll probably also review each of the four episodes as I watch them and maybe an overall opinion, if you were interested in checking those out.

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  6. God I love The Take, really any movie/show with Brian Cox is a must see for me. Couple that with Tom Hardy and the show itself is a well done criminal style show.

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    • Nice to see someone else has seen it. I haven’t seen any other Martina Cole pieces of work, but all her shows seem to be about crime, so I might try catch them. Tom Hardy made The Take so good though, cant see anything else coming close to this.

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