Ex-Public Image Ltd. bass man and band leader of Invaders of The Heart and Nippon Duo Ensemble, Jah Wobble - AKA John Wardle – has long been regarded as one of Britain’s most innovative musicians who has played with some of the world’s finest musicians. But on the quiet, he’s a closet movie buff with a penchant for gangster films – not surprising considering he’s from Stepney – one of the rougher parts of London's East End. Here Jah Wobble becomes Noir Wobble and brings us his top five films of the genre.
Un Flic (Cop) (1972)
"Directed by Jean Pierre Melville – one of the great masters of French cinema – set on the French coast just an hour from Paris, it’s about this gang who rob the town’s bank. The build up to the robbery is fantastic. They go into this town off-season and number the bank and everything is so right, so atmospheric, so French and so detailed. One of the robbers gets shot and the firm have to go back to Paris to plan another robbery. It stars Alain Delon as the copper on the trail of the crooks led by Richard Crenna who is also his pal. In one scene Delon slaps about this transvestite informer something rotten. It’s absolutely bang on: the cinematography, the attention to detail – I could watch it all day long."
A Bout de Souffle (Breathless) 1960
"Directed by Jean-Luc Godard and co-written by Francois Truffaut, this stars Jean-Paul Belmondo as a young hood and Jean Seberg as his American student girlfriend. He steals a car, shoots a copper and the chase is on. What I like is that it’s jolly, stylish, exciting and double moody all at the same time and again so, so French. Love Godard in general. I was introduced to his work when the BBC used to show great foreign movies at 8pm every Saturday night; that was when the BBC was great and not so commercial although I do watch a lot of documentaries on BBC3 and 4. It’s great."
Get Carter 1971
"This is a classic British film that I could understand. It was a film for the working classes. I couldn’t understand why the intelligentsia never rated it; they thought it was pulp crap. I bought it on DVD which contains the directors’ commentary from Mike Hodges. It was like a master class in film making: he made it in 12 weeks and he calls it The White Heat of film production. The soundtrack by the Roy Budd Orchestra is brilliant (with a great bass line). Hodges spotted this malaise in popular culture and saw the dawn of the new capitalistic age: an age of local politicians and businessmen ruining the country for back handers. There’s so much more to this than meets the eye."
Sexy Beast 2000
"Another British great. Good to see Ray Winstone playing something other than an absolute psycho. He’s a crook who wants out. He’s had enough, so he goes to Spain where they’ve all had enough. Ben Kingsley’s good as the heavy. He doesn’t get the accent quite right but there’s that scene on the plane where he threatens to stub the fag out in a geezer’s eye and that is what those psychos are like – and I’ve known a few in my time. They have these side battles all the time. When he’s sitting there in his underpants, and he gets a call, and he says: 'Where there’s a will, and there is a fucking will, there is a fucking way.' That is how they talk. Fucking brilliant."
"A very decadent and very deep movie by Nic Roeg and Donald Cammel that captures that friction between the working classes and the upper-class Bohemians; something which I very much identified with coming from the East End. In a way I was like that Edward Fox character thrown into arty West London when I was in Pil. The script is amazing: “The only performance that makes it, that makes it all the way, is the one that achieves madness.” It’s a great movie that mirrors the times perfectly and stands up to real scrutiny. A mate of mine watches it at least once a week and keeps on seeing more stuff; and then of course there’s the soundtrack The Last Poets, Ry Cooder..."
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