Monday, 23 December 2013

Blu-ray review: Vendetta (2013) Danny Dyer British Revenge flick

After years of being pillared by the "mainstream" film press, Danny Dyer has learned to ride it out, carving a name for himself in hard man roles and the like. But ultimately he has kept working. By his own admission some films are better than others, but he has refused to be banished by the few vocal detractors. I went into this deeper in the last film of his I reviewed, Run For Your Wife, but his critics never seem to know when to stop.His latest film, Vendetta is once again a hard man role, but this time he puts in a more polished performance, with no 'mockney' cliches to bog the character down.
The film tells the story of Jimmy Vickers (Dyer), a soldier returning from Afghanistan. Unfortunately, in the weeks before his return his father broke up a street robbery, accidentally killing one of the perpetrators in the process. Being the low-life scum they are, they don't see this as a risk of the 'trade' but instead track him down and burn him and his wife alive. Jimmy naturally wants to know who was responsible, and make them pay in the only way he sees fit. Painfully. The police want him locked up, and the army want him back in their ranks and covered up (a plot point I won't reveal so as not to spoil your enjoyment), and the scum want him dead.
While it may seem like a simply story, writer/director Stephen Reynolds manages to come up with enough twists and nuances to keep it from becoming just another Death Wish/Harry Brown re-tread. While there is some suspension of disbelieve required (notably where the police is concerned), it is a impressive, enjoyable thriller with Vickers coming up with some inventive ways to off the little scrotes who killed his folks.
While still low-budget, the film looks splendid. The night time shots of London's sky line providing a perfect cinematic backdrop to the nastiness. It's not a nice film, (a particularly distasteful scene involves a girl being forced to into a sex act to pay for some cocaine) but as escapist exploitation it does its job, and does it well. Hopefully the film will be successful enough to enable the hinted-at sequel to go ahead. Unlike producer Jonathan Sothcott's Dead Cert (2010) which I enjoyed (I realise I'm probably alone in that opinion), and featured a fantastic cameo from Dyer at the end, promising more to come.
The Blu-ray comes with a few decent extras, including the obligatory 'making of', but the most worthwhile is Reynold's earlier short The Snowman, which is brilliant. The disc (and DVD version for those still in the dark ages) is dirt cheap on Amazon (and, I believe in-store at HMV) so PLEASE do the right thing and purchase and support the British film industry!

Vendetta won't be to everyone's taste, but it's generally well made, and harks back to a time and style when cinema was fun. Give it a chance.
7 out of 10

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