Fall of the Essex Boys (2013) – Released in selected cinemas 8th February and on DVD 18th February

Directed by:
Written by:
Starring: , , , , ,















Certification: 18

Running Time: 87 mins

Reviewer: David Gillespie -Official HCF Artist

‘Not another British gangster film please!!!!!’, I hear you all shout. What about one that is based on actual events for a change?

Focussing on the December 1995 Rettendon Triple Murder, The Fall of the Essex Boys explores the events that led to the deaths of three, violent drug dealers named Patrick Tate, Craig Rolfe and Tony Tucker and the arrest of the two mobsters, Mickey Steel and Jack Whomes. There have been previous films documenting these events, including Essex Boys (2000), but it is argued that Tanter’s project remains closer to the original reports.

Darren Nichols (Nick Nevern) is a young member of a drug smuggling syndicate led by the cunning, Mickey Steele (Robert Cavanah). They run rings around the police led by Phil Stone (Ewan Ross) and dominate the street sales due to their association with the feared Essex boys comprising of Patrick Tate (Peter Barrett) , Craig Rolfe (Simon Phillips) and Tony Tucker (Jay Brown). When the Essex boys start to get increasingly greedy and disruptive, Mickey decides that it is time to break their alliance by delivering a dirty supply of drugs with violent and tragic consequences. To complicate matters Steele is having an affair with Tate’s sultry girlfriend (the gorgeous Kierston Wareing) and hopes to get the unhinged gangster out of the way so that they can set up a future together. There is also the matter of Nichols involvement with Stone. Is he a ‘grass’ or something else?


There have been some truly awful entries to the dreaded British Gangster genre. Last year’s St Georges Day was by no means a disaster but it certainly brought nothing new to the table either. Fall of the Essex Boys fairs better for several reasons.

The performances for a low budget production are all very admirable with Peter Barrett in particular, impressive as the most violent and repugnant of the Essex trio. Whenever Tate is onscreen you never quite know what he is going to do next but you expect it to be something very bad. Robert Cavanah is excellent as the brains behind the smuggling operation and Nick Nevern is solid in the lead role with narration duties.














Although the film is gritty and full of tension, it is a pleasant surprise that there is more suggested violence than gallons of the red stuff splattering across the screen. However the large helpings of profanity and nudity certainly make up for this. Male viewers will be more than happy watching Ms Wareing (Eastenders, The Take) disrobe in seemingly countless occasions.

Tanter seems to have a flair for action set pieces with a gunfight in a Dutch warehouse and a chase sequence in the final act proving to be particularly satisfying with some terrific cuts and stunts.

Fall of the Essex Boys might not spark any resurgence in the British gangster genre but it is a gripping and entertaining piece of cinema with the occasional spark of originality that will hopefully reward it with the audience that it deserves.

Rating: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆

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About DAVID GILLESPIE 169 Articles
Fighting for clean bathrooms and restrooms since 1974.


  1. Peter Barrett is a good actor unfortuantly he outshines the dire Nick Nervern who has the same role in every movie he has ever been in. Paul Tanter’s direction is exactly the opposite, directionless. Feels like the editor had he job cut out for him. Its a non budget attempt to rip off and cash in on past movies about these events. The publicity picture here tells you the above comment is correct in the fact that Simon Phillips face is mistakenly shadowed.
    Rating 2/10 but from the glowing review of this website they are probably in cohoots with the producers.

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