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'Villain' Movie Review

Ex-con Eddie Franks spent 10 years of his life in prison. After being released, he wants a clean slate running the family pub with his brother and reconnecting with his estranged daughter. However, his junkie brother is in debt to some dangerous drug lords who threaten both their existence so Eddie resorts to his old violent ways. The film is directed by Philip Barantini (“Boiling Point”) from a script by George Russo (MY NAME IS LENNY, TURNOUT) and Greg Hall (COMMUNION, THE PLAGUE).

VILLAIN's storyline is a familiar one: a reformed ex-convict attempts to go straight until reality crashes in. However, director Brantini comes at it with a different approach. We don't get much of a backstory on Eddie Franks (Fairbass). Fairbass isn't your typical male lead so you make assumptions about this tough-looking character the minute we first see him leaving prison. Viewers get hints about Eddie's past through his actions without having to resort to expository scenes. Given his huge stature, we can decipher this man was the muscle for the crime rings, and not the ringleader.

The film also stars George Russo (My Name is Lenny, Turnout), Izuka Hoyle (MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS), Mark Monero (SID AND NANCY), and Robert Glenister ("Doctor Who"). With a largely unknown cast to Stateside audiences, VILLAIN is not a movie that captures your immediate attention because we know very little about the main character. Early on we can assume his trouble-maker brother Sean will be an obstacle to Eddie's transformation into a law-abiding citizen.

While Eddie is a menacing-looking character, Fairbass's portrayal is very effective in earning your empathy as the story moves forward. Although he resorts to violent methods, he is given no choice in order to save his brother. Eddie further shows his humanity through his attempts to reconnect with his estranged adult daughter and granddaughter.

Ultimately, you're invested in Eddie's journey, and become hooked by the surprising turns midway.     

The title VILLAIN is an interesting one in that it poses a question of whether a person can really escape their past actions. In this case, Eddie can't.

Catch VILLAIN On Demand and Digital starting Friday, May 22.

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