Eddie Franks (Craig Fairbrass) is an aging gangster, just released from prison after ten years. He is coming out into a world where his old-fashioned values no longer have a place. Eddie wants to reconnect with his estranged daughter Chole, excellently played by Izuka Hoyle. He will try his best to reach out to her, and make this happen. Also, he has a pub that he left in the not so capable hands of his, waste of clothes brother Sean (George Russo) who owes a debt to big time gangster brothers Roy & Johnny Garrett. All Eddie wants to do is help his family, but despite his best efforts, he is slowly drawn back into his criminal way of life…
It is good to see Craig Fairbrass in a leading role. Cliffhanger was a long time ago. The last film I remember seeing him in. Until last year’s excellent Avengement (see our review here) playing Scott Adkins brother. I did think that this would be a similar role for him but was happily very wrong. An intelligent engaging, and immensely powerful performance. Especially in the the scenes between him and his daughter. These are the standout moments for me in the film. As his daughter says to him in one such scene – you are a walking disaster Eddie. He does what he must which leads to some very violent encounters. You know from the start, this will be a devastating journey, that can only lead one way. Though Villain has a few surprises along the way building up to the tense end.
This is an excellent British Gangster film from writers Greg Hall and George Russo and Directed brilliantly by Philp Baranti. From the opening scene, you are drawn into Eddie`s world and his emotional journey. Yes, it has all been done before but Fairbrass`s performance sets this above other British made gangster films of recent years. Well-acted all round, with a solid British cast that includes Robert Glenister & Tomi May, as Roy and Johnny Garrett. You know they will do whatever it takes. Mark Monero as Eddie`s loyal childhood friend. Also, with Taz Skaylar, Nicholas Aaron, David Savizon & Michael John Treanor.
I was pleasantly surprised to how good Villain is. Originally, I thought it was a remake of the 1971 film starring Richard Burton and Ian McShane. It well and truly is not, the film kept me engaged mainly due to Craig Fairbrass's performance, not his usual kind of action role, but a part he can get his acting chops around and he does that so well.
For me the best British gangster film for many a year. Look it out – you will not be disappointed!
Thank you to Saban Films who released the crime thriller *VILLAIN *on Digital and VOD on May 22, 2020.