Villain focuses on hard guy Eddie, returning to London after a prison stint. It asks the question; how far would you go to protect family? I found myself asking, did Eddie ever consider not killing everyone?
There are some truly beautiful moments within Villain, such as the party scenes in the pub, or the final shots with Chloe which make me feel that Director Philip Barantini has so much more to give then what we get in essentially a paint by numbers British gangster flick. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the direction of the film as a whole, but these moments of brilliance had me yearning for a delicate and intense family drama from Barantini. As his debut feature, he’s done a great job and keeps the audiences’ eyes on the screen, but I hope he is able to tackle something more original for his sophomore piece.
After being released from a 10-year prison sentence, Eddie tries to reconnect with his brother and daughter, whilst also staying on the right side of the law. Whilst on the whole, there’s nothing wrong with the plot, it takes just minutes for Eddie to immediately start breaking the law again – with almost no hesitation. The crimes escalate very quickly, to a point of ridiculousness and it makes it hard to take the quick escalation of events seriously or allow the small moments of human drama to truly resonate. A slower build to allow us time to know our players and our stakes is needed in the plot.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
Similar to the issues I had with the plot, the film is framed to say that Eddie has to play a villain to help his family, but he’s really a good guy. Except we virtually see none of this ‘good guy’ mentality, as within less than 24 hours of being released, he’s whacking two blokes with a hammer. His attitude is great, and Craig Fairbrass plays the role well, it’s just hard as an audience member to understand how he’s meant to be struggling, when it feels like he never gave going straight a try. It would be remiss not to also mention Izuka Hoyle, who plays daughter Chloe, and carries most of the emotional beats within the film. She holds the final scenes together and grounds the film in a sense of reality.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
Again, when the music is really needed such as in the final closing scenes, it’s brilliant. At other times, it’s standard fair. Never overpowering but never truly original or important.
Most of the effects in Villain center around gun choreography and they’re pretty realistic, but it’s all about that hacksaw scene. Watching two men literally cut apart bodies, the sound of them dumping guts in to bin bags. It was intense and fair play to Barantini for really focussing in on that scene. It was gross.
"...For fans of British gangster films, Villain will be another solid choice for your movie night.."
For fans of British gangster films, Villain will be another solid choice for your movie night. For those who aren’t completely sold of the genre, Villain doesn’t offer anything new or insightful. Instead I found myself desperate to reframe the storyline and focus on the human behind the violence, something I hope director Barantini will give me in future work.