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DVD Review

DVD cover

Essex Boys: The Truth


Distributor: Metrodome
RRP: £14.99
Certificate: 18
Release Date: 04 January 2016

The morning of 7th December Britain awoke to the shocking news that three Essex men had been gunned down, sat in their land rover, in an isolated country lane, the intimate nature of the killing meant that this killing was personal...

Essex Boys: The Truth (2015. 1 hr 57 min 42 sec) is a documentary written and presented by Bernard O’Mahoney, a former member of the notorious gang, the Essex Boys. The murder of Tony Tucker, Pat Tate and Craig Rolf, sparked a turf war which dragged in more victims, both the innocent and the guilty.

The case sparked the creation of a number of television programs and a film, although their reason for their being was to entertain, rather than adhere to historical accuracy, which is why O’Mahoney felt it was time the truth were told, from the mouths of those that were there and involved.

Documentaries which are as personal as this is and involving a contentious case are not without their problems. O’Mahoney makes a reasonable presenter, given that he is neither a professional narrator, nor an actor. The real question is, who’s truth are we listening to? Can we really believe that those involved do not have their own agenda?

It’s probably fair to say that with the principle characters involved in the killing, both killers and victims, that the documentary represents a fair approximation of the truth, or at least enough of it so that those involved do not implicate themselves in any serious crimes. That said participants do seem to have been very candid about what was happening, happily admitting to chasing rivals down streets while trying to shoot them. It’s difficult to know for sure whether the documentary represents the absolute truth, but it’s probably as close as we will get.

One of the things you do get from the documentary is just how bad at being gangsters most of them were. From incompetence in drug deals, to spending more time taking their own merchandise and engaging in petty acts of retribution, if it were not for their reputations it is unlikely that anyone would have taken them seriously. You get the definite ideas that their behaviour meant that they were always destined to end badly.

The documentary is shot to a good quality on what looks to be a digital camera, with a mixture of recollection and reconstructions. Audio is clear and as previously stated O’Mahoney makes for a good and authentic narrator.

There are a number of extras on the DVD. The documentary is based on O’Mahoney’s own book and a copy of the e-book is included on the DVD. There is a small extra which discusses what happened to the range rover in which the three were killed and reactions to the murders from some of those involved on the fringes of the crime.

Overall an interesting take on a true crime.


Charles Packer

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