Nasty, slimy, kinky - how London looks in films




"Give me something nasty, slimy, kinky," commands Denny, Michael Caine's character in Mona Lisa, a touching little 80s film set in London's underworld.

Denny's words came back to me when starting to update our Top 10 London Films list ready for a visual revamp (yay!) and hopefully in time for the London Film Festival. He could have been talking about many of the movies that regularly feature in best-of-London-films lists, from A Clockwork Orange and Repulsion to Withnail & I and 28 Days Later.

Even without the famous pea-souper fogs of old, it seems there's something smelly in the city's air that pollutes the movie-imagination.

For a moment, I got a bit concerned about all this, until I remembered that at the other end of the scale, there's London films like Notting Hill and Sliding Doors in which moneyed types sort their mundane marital problems as if they're saving the world. Even drunks, lunatics and zombies aren't quite as sickening as that.