Fred: The Godfather of British Crime

Year: 2018
Directed by: Paul Van Carter
Starring: Freddie Foreman

Written by Tom Sheffield

Freddie Foreman (also known as ‘Brown Bread Fred’) is a notorious British gangster who was an associate of the even more notorious Kray twins – Ronnie and Reggie – in the 1960s. This intimate and eye-opening documentary sees Freddie himself carefully discussing his criminal activities he admits to in his book, and also attempts to gather new details on some of his crimes.

As the interview begins, you expect you’re about to witness a former gangster open up and reveal his darkest secrets, but in actual fact this documentary switches gears and instead focuses on trying to find out how Freddie goes about his day to day life knowing what he has done and keeping the secrets that he undoubtedly does. Freddie has always maintained that his crimes were ‘victimless’ and that no one who was innocent (children, women, police, innocent men) were ever victims of his criminal activity – the full extent of which is still unknown. But Paul Van Carter becomes more interested in trying to draw out confessions of regret or guilt from Freddie who has never publicly shown an ounce of any for his criminal actions.

At the beginning of the interview Freddie is sat on the opposite side of the table to the camera, so from the second the documentary starts it feels personal and as though you’re sat opposite this notorious gangster. Despite the nature of the topic at hand, the documentary is shot in an incredibly relaxed manner – for example there are times where you can hear mobile phones ringing in the background as Carter is questioning Freddie, and members of the crew walking in front of the camera as if it wasn’t even there.

Building his own little empire consisting of clubs, housing properties, various other ventures, Freddie was quickly building a reputation in London and his involvement with crime was no secret. After being found guilty of dumping the body of Jack ‘The Hat’ McVitie following his murder at the hands of Reggie Kray, Freddie served 10 years – his first stint in prison. Freddie is rumoured to have been a hitman for the Krays, but this is something he has always denied.

Freddie is noticeably careful with his answers during this interview – obviously not wanting to reveal anything he hasn’t previously admitted to. Even when questioned on something he talks about openly in his book, Freddie is hesitant to reply for what I can only assume is fear he might slip up and say something that could get him in trouble. He attempts to quickly skip past his involvement in the Shoreditch ‘Security Express Robbery’, in which £9 million was stolen by Freddie and his associates. This robbery was the largest cash robbery in the UK at the time, which increased Freddie’s notoriety.

There are shots of Freddie being photographed for promotional material for this documentary where he’s suited up and looking incredibly intimidating. This is shortly followed by contrasting footage filmed for this documentary of him visiting his previously owned properties and his local pub and we see him in more casual clothing and walking with the aid of his walking stick. These more personal shots of Freddie become more frequent as Paul Van Carter’s questioning moves from trying to uncover new information, to trying to understand why Freddie doesn’t show any remorse or guilt for what he’s done in the past. The topics of feelings and emotions is something he tries to skip over during the documentary, but I would say it’s clear from his body language that this is an act for the camera.

As the documentary progresses and we learn more about Freddie, his childhood, his family life, and the repercussions his criminal activity has had on them, the camera begins to follow this aging gangster through his daily life, including a look inside his tiny apartment within a home – a far cry from the luxurious life he would have once lived with the money from his criminal activities. This insight strips away his intimidating facade that had a strong presence in the beginning and reveals the toll of Freddie’s past has taken on both himself and the people who know him.

‘Fred: The Godfather of British Crime’ is available to download May 28th, and available on DVD from June 4th – and if have an interest in British crime or find yourself intrigued by this review, I definitely recommend seeking it out.

This intimate one-to-one with such a notorious figure makes for fascinating viewing and the way in which the interview evolves from a up-close and personal interview to sort of a fly on the wall type documentary is incredibly well done and it evolves so naturally that it doesn’t feel like it’s suddenly switched from one to the other.

Tom’s Rating: 
4.5

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Watch This Space: September 11th – 17th

Every Monday we will be recommending films that are on TV that week, films playing at the cinema, and also remind you of those brilliant films hiding on streaming services, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, and possibly in your own collection.

In Cinemas

IT: The highly anticipated ‘IT’, the second Stephen King adaptation to grace our cinemas this year, released last week and is already breaking records worldwide! We’ll have our review up later today!

Wind River: Last week we posted up Rhys’ review of Wind River, in which he says “Sheridan has set himself an improbably high standard to exceed with his next film”. We highly recommend checking it out at the cinema this week if creepy killer clowns aren’t your thing!

On TV

Monday

Prometheus (2012): Up for a mind-bending Sci-Fi flick this evening? If so, make sure you catch ‘Prometheu’s, Ridley Scott’s enigmatic and divisive return to the ‘Alien’ franchise. Delving deep into the mythology and lore of the ‘Alien’ universe, Scott’s ‘Prometheus’ is a story of creation and the origins of mankind. Whilst it lacks the scare-factor evident in the original ‘Alien’, this prequel will immerse you by its many, many mysteries. Whether you’ll love it or hate it, you will need to watch it at 9pm on Film4 to find out.

Home Alone (1990): With plenty of silly moments and wonderfully funny set pieces, courtesy of the famous booby-trapped finale, this delivers lots of heart in a story full of witty and charming moments. It made an international star out of Macaulay Culkin, and it’s easy to see why at just 8 years old by carrying the film pretty much on his one. With a toe-ta[pping festive soundtrack, wonderful performances from all including our “Wet Bandits” Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern – who has THE best scream in cinema – this is real innocent family fun. But shame on you for watching it in September. Hethen! Save it for mid-November to December at least, ya filthy animal.

Tuesday

The Secret of My Success (1987): Tune in for a slice of 80s fun in the male version of ‘Working Girl’, as Michael J Fox attempts to sleep his way to the top in ‘The Secret of My Success’. As usual with 80s fare, there’s some crazily fantastic fashion, decor and music on display. This film is really funny and relies on the charm of Fox as he wrestles with his conscience, leading to a heart-warming, feel-good conclusion. Like all 80s classics, this is comfort food for the soul. To learn the secret be sure to tune in to ITV2 at 9pm!

Wednesday

Hot Fuzz (2007): At this point, every film fan has had a conversation about which Edgar Wright film is their favourite. Some will say ‘Shaun of the Dead’, some will say ‘Scott Pilgrim’, and I’m sure some will now say ‘Baby Driver’. Me? It will always be ‘Hot Fuzz’. ‘Hot Fuzz’ is everything that makes Edgar Wright great. It’s hilarious, it has a brilliant cast of characters, it’s fabulously written, and it has many moments that I can remember beat for beat. Also, as great as he is in most things, Nick Frost is never better than he is as Danny Butterman, yeah motherfuckerrrrrr. Catch ‘Hot Fuzz’ on ITV2 at 10pm

The Ladykillers (1955):   Five oddball criminals rent out a room in a house owned by  a an old lady by the name of Mrs Wilberforce, where they pretend to be musicians. Here, they attempt to plan a bank robbery, but they find Mrs Wilberforce is a force to be reckoned with and things do not go to plan! This is a classic that everyone needs to see at least once. It has a brilliant cast, with the likes of Alec Guinness and Peter Sellers starring. Watch the robbery plans unfold on Film4 at 12pm.

Thursday

Mr and Mrs Smith (2005): Imagine keeping your secret life of an assassin a secret from your spouse, only to learn they are doing the exact same thing… Well, that’s exactly what happens when John (Brad Pitt) and Jane Smith (Angelina Jolie) are contracted to kill one another and learn they’re both hiding the same secret. Of course, the professionals that they are, the pair plan on fulfilling their contracts and killing the other, but that may not be as easy as they’d planned on it being. Watch the bullet-fest marriage counselling session at 10pm on 5*.

Meet the Fockers (2010): Robert De Niro and Ben Stiller come face to face again in the sequel to 2000’s ‘Meet the Parents’. This time, it’s the the Byrnes’ turn to meet the other side of the family, the Fockers. Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand are Bernie and Rozalin Focker, and hilarity ensues as the two families, who are complete opposites, are forced to spend time with one another for the sake of their children. You can meet the Fockers on Comedy Central at 9pm.

Friday

Pitch Perfect (2012): Every few years or so there comes a “chick flick” which easily manages to transcend that annoyingly gender specific term. We had ‘Clueless’, ‘Mean Girls’, ‘Easy A’, and now ‘Pitch Perfect’ is able to join that elite pantheon. Making the world of competitive collegiate acapella somehow the coolest thing ever, ‘Pitch Perfect’ has great songs, great comedic performances, and a surprising amount of heart. It ticks some of the gross-out humour boxes without ever going too far and is consistently rewatchable. Give it a try, you might just find yourselves surprised. Tune in 9pm on Film4!

Legend (2015): Love a bit of Tom Hardy? If so, make yourself a cup of tea, get your jammies on and jump on the sofa, because tonight you’re going to see two of him in ‘Legend’, A biopic exploring the Kray twins’ criminal hold over London. Starring Hardy as both Reggie and Ronald Kray, ‘Legend’ is driven by its exciting performances and the overwhelming amount of fun to be had, from its explosive fight sequences and hilarious dialogue (“it’s a fucking rolling pin”). You’ll have a ball with this one, I guarantee it, so flick over to Film4 at 9pm

Hiding Online / In Our Collection / Out This Week

Mindhorn (2017): His time has finally come! ‘Mindhorn’ is available to take him this week, and you’d be a sucker not to pick it up. Julian Barrett has been a long time favourite of mine, from his time as Howard Moon in ‘The Mighty Boosh’, and more recently as Maurice in Channel 4’s ‘Flowers’. Barrett’s character, Richard Thorncroft, is an actor who played an 80’s detective in a hit TV show that time forgot, and is called to play the character once again after a murder suspect the police are chasing will only talk to Mindhorn, who he thinks is a real detective. Thorncroft see’s this as the perfect opportunity to get his career back on track, and get his name in the news. ‘Mindhorn’ is simply British comedy at it’s finest and definitely one I’ll be picking up.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017): The second outing for the Guardians is out on home release this week, and it’s a mixed bag. Some of the characters are a little flat and just there for the sake of it, and some of the humour feels shoe-horned in and rather naff, but there is much to be enjoyed to counter the negatives. It’s a popcorn movie at heart that doesn’t fail in setting up more for us to follow in the Marvel Cinematic Universe while expanding on the ‘GOTG’ series as a whole with new characters and new worlds. Plus, with the likes of Kurt Russell, Sylvester Stallone and….David Hasselhoff?….in tow, you can’t go far wrong. It’s daft, bright, visually spinning stuff so don’t expect anything groundbreaking and you’ll be ok.

A huge thank you to contributors this week: Chris Gelderd,  Corey Hughes, Sarah Buddery, Fiona Underhill, and Rhys Bowen Jones

Watch This Space: September 14 – 20

Welcome to your weekly go-to film guide – WatchThisSpace – where we recommend what to watch in the cinema and on the television, and remind you of those brilliant films hiding in your DVD collection.

IN THE CINEMA

Although it’s been released outside of the UK, and not received the best of reviews, we still think that ‘Aloha’ could be worth a trip to the cinema if you like your rom-coms. Starring Bradley Cooper as a military contractor who is stuck in the classic problem of having two women in his life. Alongside Cooper, we have Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams and John Krasinski and it’s hard to not be impressed by that cast.

Even more impressive though, is the cast for ‘Everest’, which boasts the likes of Jake Gyllenhaal, Jason Clarke, Keira Knightley and Josh Brolin. The trailers for this epic look pretty intense and harrowing, as we follow an expedition to the peak of Mount Everest, with disastrous results. Quite the contrast to the sunny skies Bradley Cooper and company will be enjoying, this endurance thriller may not be one for the faint-hearted but promises to be a spectacular visual experience.

ON THE TV

Monday 22:40 GMT: If you’ve enjoyed a double helping of Tom Hardy in his latest film ‘Legend’, you’ll be pleased to know that Film4 are showing ‘Bronson’ to get your week off to a smashing start. There may only be one Tom Hardy in this one, but his portrayal of Charles Bronson is more than enough, we promise.

Tuesday 23:05 GMT: Quentin Tarantino’s directing career is coming to an end after the much-anticipated ‘Hateful Eight’, so why not celebrate his career by watching one of his finest contributions to the world of cinema on Film4. ‘Inglorious Basterds’ follows Lieutenant Aldo Raine and his bunch of not-so-merry men as they plan a Nazi assassination in war torn France, 1944. Expect your typical, Tarantino spectacle of violence and dark comedy.

Wednesday 21:00 GMT: You may know Chris Hemsworth better for his role as Thor in the Avengers series, but the blonde brute’s most critically-acclaimed performance is most definitely his portrayal of legendary F1 driver James Hunt in ‘Rush’. Catch the fast-paced biopic on Film4.

Friday 21:00 GMT: E4 is bringing you the definition of Friday night television this week, in the form of alien flick ‘Independence Day’ – one of those films that is such easy watching, no matter how many times you’ve seen it before. Explosions, drama and the odd laugh thrown in too, sit back and see in the weekend in style.

Sunday 17:45 GMT: Brad Pitt is all over WatchThisSpace this week. This time, we urge you to settle down on Sunday evening and enjoy his performance in ‘The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button’ on Film4. Pitt stars opposite Cate Blanchett, as a man who ages backwards, whilst trying desperately to reconnect with the love of his life.

DIG IT OUT

This is our favourite part of the WatchThisSpace section. We delve into our own DVD collection and pick out some amazing films, that may not instantly spring to mind when you’re stuck for inspiration to make your movie night a success. Maybe you’ve never seen a film that we pick – or even heard of them for that matter – but you’re gonna have to trust us on this one, and Dig It Out.

Inception: Want more Tom Hardy? Okay, fine! It’s the man of the moment’s birthday on Tuesday, and we’ve pretty much exhausted all of his greatest roles in the past few weeks. One we haven’t covered though, is his more reserved and charming performance in Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi thriller ‘Inception’. In a stellar cast, Hardy still stands out as Eames – the cheeky forger who can take the form of anyone you want him to. Celebrate Mr. Hardy’s birthday with one of the best films of recent years, but don’t ponder the mysteries of Nolan’s multi-storey dream world too hard or you may end up with a bigger hangover than the birthday boy himself.

Se7en: David Fincher was recently announced as the director for the up and coming second installment of the Millennium Trilogy books – ‘The Girl Who Played With Fire.” Why not revisit one of Fincher’s previous works in ‘Se7en’; a film that has become a classic since it’s release back in 1995. Featuring one of cinemas finest and strangest villains in John Doe (Kevin Spacey), follow Somerset and Mills (Freeman & that man Pitt, again) as they hunt down the infamous serial killer, who seems to have a certain signature, when it comes to his murders.

The Beach: Danny Boyle confirmed last week that all systems are go on a ‘Trainspotting’ sequel, with the majority of the original cast signed on for the follow up. We would like to draw your attention to another of Boyle’s masterpieces, this time starring a young Leonardo DiCaprio filled with wanderlust, who finds himself in a near-perfect paradise. Or so he thinks! For some strange reason, this film has divided opinions since its release in 2000, but we absolutely love it and think you will too!

This Sporting Life: With the Rugby World Cup kicking off this week, we’re trying to get into the spirit of things here at JumpCut UK. As a result, we’re going to suggest a rugby themed film for you to dig out this week, but one that you may not have heard of before. ‘This Sporting Life’ is a British realist film from 1963, starring the late, great Richard Harris, and follows the story of a young miner-turned-rugby player as he struggles to ascertain a balance in his life between the aggressive sport and his domestic bliss, as the two begin to intertwine.

This week’s WatchThisSpace was compiled by Jakob Lewis Barnes and Nick Deal

You may have noticed that this week’s edition of WatchThisSpace is kinda male dominated. But before anyone berates us for discrimination, let us explain. If you head to our Twitter account @jumpcutUK this week, you will find our latest Twitter poll, which is aimed at deciding on the best female performance of the last 5 years (2010-2015). We thought it would strike a nice balance then, to focus on the guys on this side of our work. Never fear ladies, next month we have a special women’s edition of WatchThisSpace to celebrate the release of ‘Suffragette’.

Watch This Space: September 7 – 13

Welcome to your weekly go-to film guide – WatchThisSpace – where we recommend what to watch in the cinema and on the television, and remind you of those brilliant films hiding in your DVD collection.

IN THE CINEMA

Following the success of ‘Maze Runner’ last year, this week sees the release of its sequel, ‘Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials’. The plot continues with Dylan O’Brian returning as Thomas, the reluctant leader of his band of grizzled Teens. Set in a dystopian future, our protagonists face the new horror of navigating the Scorch, a vast, desolate landscape filled with perils. Directed by Wes Ball and featuring Kaya Scodelario and Aiden Gillen, this movie should see a good return after the surprising success of its predecessor.

Also released this week is ‘Legend’, the story of the infamous Kray twins and their fractious relationship as they terrorise London and rule the criminal underworld of the 1950’s and 1960’s, until their incarceration in 1969. Both brothers are portrayed by the ever malleable Tom Hardy in what promises to be an award-nominated double performance. Check out our review for more.

The new Movie carrying the “written and directed by Woody Allen” tagline is ‘Irrational Man’, starring Joaquin Phoenix as a Philosophy professor encountering an existential crisis which may lead to murder. With Emma Stone also featuring in a supporting role, the talent involved here looks set to throw another film full of deep character study and dark humour our way.

ON TELEVISION

Monday 23:00 GMT: Danny Boyle has brought us so many great films over the years, but arguably, none compare to his 1996 classic ‘Trainspotting’. At almost 20 years old, this iconic Brit flick is such a part of cinema history that we absolutely insist you stay up and catch it on Film4.

Wednesday 21:00 GMT: If you couldn’t stomach Monday night’s hard-hitting option, this may be more up your street. Starring Will Ferrel and John C. Reilly, ‘Step Brothers’ is one of our favourite comedies here at JumpCut UK. Watch middle-aged men act like children on Comedy Central, and try not to laugh so hard that you fall off your dinosaur (if you get it, you get it).

Thursday 22:50 GMT: Whilst the world is absorbed with the Marvel Cinematic Universe and who would win in a fight between Batman and Superman, you could escape all that and watch erm…enjoy ‘Watchmen’ on Film4. They aren’t the most popular heroes, but this dark, violent comic-book adaptation is a severely underrated addition to the superhero genre.

Saturday 16:45 GMT: Travel back in time this weekend – in more ways than one – and join Marty McFly for the 1985 classic ‘Back To The Future’ on ITV. Gather the whole family and enjoy a fun, fantastical ride in the DeLorean. 

Saturday 21:00 GMT: If, like us, you love a good Brit flick, we have two for you this week. Alongside Danny Boyle, Shane Meadows is another master of the gritty, realist trade and Film4 is showing his most famous work, ‘This Is England’ this Saturday night. Alternatively, head to BBC3 15 minutes later for the uber-intense ‘Jarhead’ starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Jamie Foxx.

DIG IT OUT

This is our favourite part of the WatchThisSpace section. We delve into our own DVD collection and pick out some amazing films, that may not instantly spring to mind when you’re stuck for inspiration to make your movie night a success. Maybe you’ve never seen a film that we pick – or even heard of them for that matter – but you’re gonna have to trust us on this one, and Dig It Out.

A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984): After the very sad news last week that my favourite horror director, Wes Craven, had passed away, I wanted to celebrate his iconic career by watching my most cherished horror movie of all time. Set in suburbian America, this superbly crafted twist on the unstoppable, stalker format saw the killer (a burned faced and perfectly cast Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger) terrorise and murder a group of frightened teens from within their nightmares. Starring Heather Lagenkamp and a very young Johnny Depp in his first ever acting role, this movie raised the bar for the horror genre, and many films that followed owe an awful lot to the work of Wes Craven. With a cruel sense of humour, genuinely frightening set pieces and perfectly haunting soundtrack, 31 years have done nothing to quash the fear this movie will instill in you. Just try not to fall asleep straight after!

R.I.P Wes Craven 1939-2015

La Haine: Casting a great villain is often imperative to a movie’s success. Luckily, the latest installment in the ‘Bourne’ franchise has found theirs, in the form of French actor Vincent Cassel. The very talented Monsieur Cassel, who you will recognise as the repugnant dance choreographer in ‘Black Swan’, first broke onto the scene back in 1995 with his role in the critically-acclaimed, intensely violent French flick ‘La Haine’. Follow Vinz (Cassel) and his two young comrades as they navigate their way through the French suburbs after a heated riot, and get a taste of what we can expect with the untitled ‘Bourne 5’ next year.

Zombieland: ‘Fear The Walking Dead’ has just hit the small screen and how better to celebrate than by watching this sleeper hit of 2009. Starring Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg and Emma Stone, the story sees a zombie-ravaged, post-apocalyptic world and the relationships between a small group of survivors. Beautifully written and genuinely funny, we see our heroes desperately trying not to become food for the undead, whilst seeking the sanctuary of a theme park. Featuring a hilarious and self-aware performance by Harrelson, as well as the perfectly neurotic Eisenberg, the movie also has one of the best cameos ever and possibly THE greatest opening credits scene.

Kick-Ass: So, all the kids are back at school. Some of you might have, what, a couple of weeks until you return to university? Or…you could scrap all that, quit education and just become a superhero? From the fantastic Matthew Vaugn (director of ‘Kingsman’ and ‘Layer Cake’) comes this epic, alternative hero who will inspire you to drop it all, throw on the first piece of spandex you can find and take to the streets. The titular hero doesn’t quite have the muscle and skills of your everyday comic-book hero, but he more than makes up for that in courage. ‘Kick-Ass’ is entertaining and funny, whilst delivering a healthy portion of violence and action – if you haven’t seen this before, get ready to be very pleasantly surprised.

This week’s WatchThisSpace was compiled by Jakob Lewis Barnes and special guest Chris Murphy. Get more from Chris by checking out his Twitter activity here.