Following on from the bright 80s glitz of the The Business (2005), writer/director Nick Love (pictured on the right) casts a cynical eye over modern Britain with OUTLAW, a violent tale of five men taking the law into their own hands as they fight against a corrupt society that punishes the innocent and rewards the guilty. Noted for his laddish, ultra-violent films, FilmExposed’s Tom Alexander discovers Outlaw heralds a change of direction for Love…
What inspired you to make OUTLAW?
My reason for making it was ultimately that I just felt that if I didn’t make it then I would regret it, because I feel these things on some level – nowhere near as extreme as the film, obviously – but I feel dissatisfied as a customer in this country now. You look in any newspaper at the moment and you see headlines about street crime spiralling out of control, kids being used as gun couriers and disillusionment about the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
How do you think the audience is going to empathise with these characters when they’re taking such extreme measures?
I think it will completely split people. Some people hate the film passionately and say it’s fucking awful and they’re blinkered by the political aspects of the film and can’t see the performance or the story or anything. On the flip-side of that, it’s got real big champions, people saying it’s a really bold film and someone should have made a film like this years ago.
Outlaw seems a lot darker, both in visual style and in its political content, than your previous films.
I’m trying to move away from just making lad’s films. Having said that, I still have an audience of lads so I can’t turn my back on them. This film’s got a much broader political context and it’s engaging in a lot more social debate, so I’m hoping it’ll get a different audience. I can see that happening very clearly in that some of the lad’s mags aren’t as mad for it as they were with my other films, yet there’s already a new army of people who never liked any of my other films coming out and saying that they got a lot out of it.
One of the obvious links to your previous films is the graphic depiction of violence. Do you feel an obligation to show violence as explicitly and as honestly as possible?
Absolutely, but I think particularly with Outlaw more than anything else. I mean, I’ll put my hand up and say that with my previous films I think I have been gratuitous and probably have shown one kick too many or whatever. Ultimately, the reason for that is that I’m not just making films for myself and the demographic of people who like my films do happen to like a bit of the old ultra-violence. But with Outlaw, I think it’s completely justified because it’s about putting people in the first person, about really feeling the kicks and the punches so that when the characters do take the law into their own hands you kind of go: “God, I’ve felt those punches, I’ve felt the fucking crunch on that guy’s head” or whatever.
I understand you had a novel scheme for raising money for the film?
Essentially what we did was set up a website before the film was photographed and before I even wrote the script offering people the opportunity to become extras and executive producers for a hundred quid. It was partly a publicity stunt, partly a cheeky gag and partly a genuine opportunity for people who are interested in films to get more involved. If you’re working in an office or whatever, the idea of spending a day out on a film set with Bob Hoskins or Sean Bean has got to be pretty exciting.
Where do you go from here?
I’m the process of writing a remake of The Sweeney and we’ll start shooting that in the autumn. For me, Outlaw is the first stage of my reinvention of myself as a filmmaker. I was becoming aware of the fact that I was going to be known for just making tongue-in-cheek films about south London boys up to their usual mishaps. I’m sure you can appreciate that it’s a segue way, part of a gradual move out. But then, I wouldn’t have made Music and Lyrics as my next film after The Business.
So, no plans to make a romantic comedy somewhere down the line?
Absolutely fucking none.
Outlaw opens in cinemas on Friday March 9th.