Review By Greg Klymkiw
One of the best series of 70s male action novels, featured the lethal, moustachioed and two-fistedly taciturn British vigilante who bore the immortal monicker of "The Reprisalizer", a show-no-mercy one-man army waging war upon the roiling underworld of Kent County. Once the recipient of worldwide adoration, Kent lost its "Garden of England" crown to North Yorkshire - its abundant orchards yielding to that invasive weed, that scourge of decency, that insidious element of evil - CRIME!!!
Instead of happy gardeners breathing life into the land, there came a need for a weeder on two legs - clutching two .357s in his mitts - and to rid the once-bucolic County Kent of every scum-sucking bag of filth spreading its vile seed of putrescence upon the rich earth buttressed by the majestic White Cliffs of Dover.
To most men of the manly persuasion, the likes of Mickey Spillane's "Mike Hammer" and Richard Stark's "Parker" were little more than light-in-the-loafer-glory-hole-seeking-flower-sniffing-nancy-boys when stacked up against "The Reprisalizer".
Written with a bludgeoning prose style by the Kent-County-based Terry Finch, one can only marvel at the covers of his books and declare that in some cases, one CAN pass judgement on the package containing the goods. Finch's groundbreaking work, "I, The Fury" is endowed with a luridly coloured cover featuring the rage-fuelled Reprisalizer, brandishing his phallic firearms like some engorged schwanzen ready to spew shots of lead semen into the unsuspecting crotches of Kent County's seemingly bottomless pit of unrepentant dirt bags.
Accompanying the unbridled masculinity of the aforementioned imagery is the terse tagline:
THEY TRASHED GEORGE.
NOW HE'D TRASH KENT.
No man in his right mind could resist these novels.
Finch, is without a doubt, truly one of 20th Century literature's unsung and grossly misunderstood writers. Living alone in a trailer within the abandoned smokestacks of a rotting industrial district of Kent overlooking his modest domicile, he, like his creation, waged his own one-man war. His target was the narrow mindedness of Kent's status quo - the key-holders to all things cultural in this woe-begotten county of repressed, bourgeois, twat-for-brains zombies.
Finch's battles with the Kent County library system is the stuff of legend. His defence of the principles of free speech makes the sum of such similar battles wither like the diminishing returns within the festering "gardens" of England.
One of his most famous tirades, levelled like a shotgun blast upon a reprehensibly prim, prudish, ramrod-up-the-rectum Kent librarian, was his public proclamation to the wizened, prune-faced rat-bag that her library was, in fact, little more than a "shithole" for not carrying westerns or, for that matter, ANY men's action series.
When the surly sow threatened to call the police, Finch wagged his firm finger in her direction whilst snarling: "I'll come for you, woman! When I do, I'll rearrange this library by genre."
Finch's struggles with his publisher were also infused with Liberty Valance-like dimensions when the two parted company over the author's refusal to refrain from always capping off every act of vengeance with several gun blasts to the testicular region of his victims.
"Why always the balls?" Finch's publisher would assert until he could no longer withhold his disgust over this literary motif and unfairly chastised the author's "disquieting ball fixation".
I long, of course, to say that each and every word of the aforementioned was true. It's not, but hopefully represents the essence of a magnificent new short film written, directed and starring the astonishing Matthew Holness. This loving, respectful homage to a long-forgotten lower-drawer genre of popular male literature is played straight and rendered with such adherence to 70s crime pictures (of the Mike Hodges Get Carter variety) that it skillfully borders satire, but never resorts to spoof-like, parodic sketch comedy.
The movie brilliantly balances its satirical eye with the thing it's squarely aimed at and results in a riotously hilarious, always compelling and surprisingly poignant drama that does what any terrific movie should do - it satisfies by leaving you elated, but by also making you want more.
"A Gun For George" is playing at the Canadian Film Centre Worldwide Short Film Festival in the Official Selection programme entitled "Superfans" at the Isabel Bader Theatre: Thursday June 7, 2:00 pm and the Isabel Bader Theatre: Saturday June 9, 5:15 pm. For info and tickets, visit the festival website HERE.