Murderous, sadistic London gang leader Vic Dakin, a mother-obsessed homosexual modeled on real-life gangster Ronnie Kray, is worried about potential stool pigeons that may bring down his ...
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Broadway star Valerie Stanton, breaking up with her producer-lover Gordon Dunning, unintentionally kills him. In flashback, she recalls meeting new flame Michael Morrell, and Dunning's ... See full summary »
Murderous, sadistic London gang leader Vic Dakin, a mother-obsessed homosexual modeled on real-life gangster Ronnie Kray, is worried about potential stool pigeons that may bring down his criminal empire. The brutal Vic cuts the throat of one bloke who has been a little too loose-lipped, afraid that his gossiping may turn into a grand operatic performance for the coppers. Vic, who enjoys playing at rough trade with his sidekick Wolfe, plans a payroll robbery and directs the blackmailing of Members of Parliament with a taste for unorthodox sex. Scotland Yard Police Inspector Matthews, playing Javert to Vic's Jean Valjean, is moving in on him and the gang. Gang-member Edgar is hospitalized for an ulcer, and Inspector Matthews might be able to make him sing. Will Edgar spill the beans to the coppers before Vic can silence him? Written by
Jon C. Hopwood
Villain was one of those films I vaguely remember seeing as a youngster in the Seventies. An 'after News At Ten' film on my very first black and white portable, knowing that it was just the sort of film a ten year old should not be watching. What I always remembered was the powerful ending with Burton screaming into the camera 'Who are you looking at?' Catching up with the film in later years I found that it was the very atmosphere that made it so memorable. Always compared with Get Carter (another favourite) I found that Villain seemed to enjoy higher production values whilst still maintaining the seedy underbelly of Seventies London life. I have often read that this 'seedy' tag has proved to be a turn off for some reviewers, but if you read the excellent James Barlow novel that the film was adapted from, you would see that Villain, the actors and in particular, Burton are very faithful to the text. Vic Dakin is a terrifying monster and although the cockney accent does seem strange at first, repeat viewings reveal a truly compelling character study. OK, so he was supposed to be on two bottles of vodka a day back then, but by God does he look like a real hard bastard?! The use of the grim locations, the lavish but contemporary score, the supporting cast and the realism of such scenes as the powerful wages snatch (still bloody violent by today's standards!) and the final confrontation, all combine to make a totally compelling film. Personally, it is a real favourite and for anyone in their thirties, it is also a slice of Seventies social comment stuffed full of great British character turns and a tough, realistic gangster thriller. Criminally underrated, hard to find on video and no DVD as such. Try to catch it one night, just after News At Ten!
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