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A film tailor-made for Bob Hoskins, the appealing British actor who suggests an unlikely cross of James Cagney and Ed Asner. He's an ex-con who gets a job as chauffeur and protector to an elegant black call girl (Cathy Tyson); he's awed by her beauty and poise, and when she asks him to find an old girlfriend from her streetwalking days, he charges into London's sexual underworld like a knight on a quest. Director Neil Jordan (Danny Boy, The Company of Wolves) does a good job of re-creating the dark romanticism of American film noir, and if the project does feel a little like a hand-me-down, it is graced by Jordan's fine, contemporary feel for bright, artificial colors and creatively mangled space. Hoskins delivers a classic star turn, capitalizing on his instant likability to draw us into a characterization of unexpected depth and dignity, and Michael Caine makes the most of a brief appearance as a satanic crime lord. With Robbie Coltrane and Clarke Peters.

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