Review: Gangs of London

Lucy Lillystone reviews gangster series Gangs of London.

Lucy Lillystone
15th June 2020
Credit: IMDb
Gangs of London follows the drama of a crime family who are left to fend for themselves when the leader of the gang - Finn Wallace - and father of main protagonist Sean Wallace (Joe Cole) is found dead. The nine episodes are filled with grisly violence, betrayal and punishment from start to finish as the gang face their multitude of rivals while desperately trying to find out who killed Finn. Also, they have a business to protect in the process.

For anyone who knows me, I absolutely love violence in TV shows - Game of Thrones, The Punisher, Peaky Blinders. Violence, for me, makes a show extremely thrilling to watch. Gangs of London, however, takes it to another level. Starting with a severely beaten man hanging upside-down off a building only to be set alight, this show is brutal all the way through. There's one part where Elliot (played by the brilliant Sope Dirisu) is fighting this absolutely HUGE man and just gets his head and whacks it down onto a saw that is stuck in the wall. It's gruesome, it's severe but it's also done beautifully and brilliantly fast that you don't even have time to cringe.

Gangs of London does a brilliant job of highlighting the complexity of its characters

In addition to the violence and the gang rivals, Gangs of London does a brilliant job of highlighting the complexity of its characters. Elliot is probably the only character with a inch of humanity in him, making him more than just a chess piece manipulated by the villains of the show - The Investors. Alongside Elliot, Sean's character also develops as the season goes on. He has doubts, he has insecurities - he most definitely did not want the life that has been handed to him. It's interesting to watch as he is at war not only with his rivals but with himself. The same goes for his brother and sister who are essentially alienated from the family. Even Ed's son Alex seems to have secrets.

Sope Dirisu in Gangs of London
Credit: Sky UK Limited, IMDb

Gangs of London is a show about what makes a family strong and loyal. It looks at the bonds both within blood and without blood ties and how weak families can be despite their appearance of violence and power. It's about betrayal, about secrets, about undercover friends and enemies.

The series does a brilliant job of exploring interesting themes related to class, race and immigration

The show also does a brilliant job of exploring interesting themes related to class, race and immigration. I especially enjoyed the storyline with Lale and her desperate attempt to get revenge on Asif for what he did to her people, to her country. While being extremely manipulative and cold-hearted (that scene where she didn't flinch when Sean threatened to kill her sister and her niece and nephews), it's all in aid of her country and the desperate attempt to free them.

Gangs of London will almost definitely keep you up till the early hours as you binge through - despite each episode being an hour long. You, like myself, will desperately want to find out whose behind the killing of Finn, who wants Sean dead, who are THE INVESTORS?

Also the last episode? I did NOT see a lot of it coming. It will leave you shocked. Perhaps there's room for a season two?

Credit: Movie Trailers Source, YouTube
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AUTHOR: Lucy Lillystone
English Language and Literature graduate, writer and Film Editor 2019/20. Passionate about film, TV and books. 99.9% of my articles are me crying, emotional over my love for my favourite characters. Twitter: @lucylillystone_

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