There was an ominous vibe throughout the press screening of Vendetta. Danny Dyer was scheduled for a Q&A afterwards, but cancelled 10 minutes before the film started. The awkward silence throughout the violent drama was one of perplexed fantasy: how on earth could anyone defend Vendetta?
The advantage Vendetta has over some of Dyer’s other recent critical disasters (such as Run for Your Wife) is that now I’m terrified of him. Dyer is disturbingly convincing as Jimmy Vickers, a sociopath who tracks down and murders a number of hooded youths. Although that’s not to say Dyer delivers a worthy performance; his line delivery is as blank as his eyes, and it’s almost comical when stewing bitterness bursts out into martial arts.
Jimmy’s motivation is initially revenge. The soldier returns from Afghanistan to discover his parents were murdered, and turns into a broody vigilante. If this sounds like Batman, it isn’t. Instead, the screenplay finds a rightwing twist. “There is a time I would have bled to keep the red in the Union Jack,” he growls. “Now we have a generation of offenders we don’t know what to do about.”
Vendetta attempts to create inventive death scenes, but they’re surprisingly stale – an example is pouring cement down someone’s mouth. There’s a sense that filming was rushed, especially when the camera is sometimes unable to fit someone within a frame; at one point, the cameraperson is unsure if it’s more important to feature the top of a policeman or his shoes, and alters between the two.
Jimmy finds defenders in his film – he supposedly prevented the next 7/7 by killing the terrorists before the plan was hatched. The idea is that the likes of Jimmy should be allowed to patrol the streets, as his experience with the Taliban can sort out the youth. A political slogan is disguised as conversation: “Slow justice is better than no justice.” Unlike most antiheroes, here’s one devoid of any charisma.
I could be wrong, and maybe Vendetta is self-aware. Maybe it doesn’t want viewers to find solace in Jimmy’s bloody crusade. But then again, self-awareness is probably absent from a screenplay that features lines about how orders can be carried out “...before you can say Katie Price is a virgin.”
Last updated: 18/04/2018 04:38:12