Above: IMDB poster of 'Villain'
Greetings valued Dan's Movie Report readers. Across my desk today comes 'Villain' a rather angry movie from Saban Films. The synopsis is actually a great description of the film: After being released from prison, ex-con Eddie Franks (Craig Fairbrass) the actor was also in Avengement, wants nothing more than to start a new life. However, his dreams of normalcy are tested when he learns of his brother's dangerous debt to a menacing drug lord. To protect his family, Eddie is forced to go back to his former life of crime and learns that stepping back into this world can have devastating consequences in this action-packed thriller.
Essentially 'Villain' is a crime drama, but more of an emotional coming home story. The film opens with Eddie Franks, deftly portrayed by Craig Fairbrass being released from jail. He comes home to find out his little brother is deep in debt to some dangerous people, and has to try to make things right. Incidentally the mode during the film is somber and somewhat depressing, an ominous telling of what is to come, no spoilers!
Eddie settles in and locates some of his old stash of cash, and attempts to live a normal life, in villain, however not much is normal. His brother is strung out on drugs and unstable, his brother's girlfriend, is hard to handle and lazy, ha but of the 3 has her head together the most, finally his daughter a plot development that is very prominent in the latter half of the film.
The action is brutal when it happens, that said Villain is not wall to wall action, there is enough dialogue to tell a story. My only complaint is the way Craig Fairbrass speaks is very quietly, almost whispering the lines ala 'Taken' . Actually the film reminds me a mix of 'Taken' and 'Falling Down'
As much as I love action, I really enjoyed the interplay Eddie has with his daughter Chloe, portrayed by Izuka Hoyle. The acting is really at a high level during a particular scene involving his grand child. That is a trap many action movies fall into not enough character development and dialogue between actors to set up the aggression.
Small issues I had were with the quiet and often mumbled dialogue. I am sure part of it was character, but again, I needed to hear what they are saying, that said when Izuka spoke she spoke clearly, and forcefully. Again this is minor compared to the overall scheme of 'Villain'. Some of the film was a bit grainy at parts, again probably due to the atmosphere director Phillip Barantini was trying to create.
Speaking of director Barantini, credit is due to the actors showing solid emotion during their scenes, obviously he took some time to set up the mood of 'Villain' When Eddie's brother's girlfriend is getting flirty and crazy the look in her eyes is proper! Izuka Hoyle really has to run an emotional roller coaster, and the combination of her acting skills, and this level of direction really made her character pop out on screen.
Hard to tell what the budget was on this but I am thinking since there were not many big sequences it may have been a bit lower than I initially thought. 'Villain' though delivers on a strong third act and really gets emotional. The build up is well worth the payoff.
Overall, I liked 'Villain', actually would have like it to be 10 minutes longer to learn more about the bad guys trying to harm Eddie and his brother, that said, the film rates a solid 7 out of 10. I recommend renting 'Villain' or even buying it if one enjoys British crime action and drama.
Movie is unleashed May 22nd!