Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Vendetta (18) | Film Review

Vendetta, dir/wr. Stephen Reynolds, st. Danny Dyer, Vincent Regan, Bruce Payne

Anyone who's seen Charlie Brooker's Sky Atlantic show A Touch Of Cloth will have seen a super-wry and soup-spittingly accurate lampooning of our longstanding tradition of Police Procedurals. His show featured more staples than an out-of-town branch of Ryman: and they're all here in Vendetta - the oily, quippy superintendent, the plucky sidekick torn between his loyalty to his friend and to the force, a gangster with about as much menace as an unsharpened banana, a pretty ex-wife who inexplicably offers support, compassion and pity-sex, and of course the leading cop On The Edge, or In Too Deep, but usually Out On His Own. Which brings us on to Danny Dyer's latest, an urban police thriller, of sorts, of the kind that makes you wonder if either its makers have been held in stasis for the last thirty years and have emerged blinking into the sunlight with a great idea for a movie, or if they deliberately set out to out-satarise satire itself. Which is kind of a genius move if you think about it. Thing gets hackneyed and worn; thing gets pastiched and dissected; thing gets remade with a selective-amnesial, Orwellian attitude to public and critical opinion. The plot concerns Dyer's Jimmy Vickers, a special ops officer fresh outta Tehran, and back in Blighty to avenge the death of his parents, murdered at the hands of dealer Warren (Joshua Osei) as payback for Vickers Sr. interrupting one of Warren's robberies which resulted in the death of his brother. All the components seem to have been assembled from Ikea-like, off-the-shelf production kits: Aisle 16, Shelf Number 7 - "Urban Thriller Score/Electro/Gritty" (composer Phil Mountford had some spare gift vouchers, obviously), Aisle 9, Shelf Number 22 - "Colour Grading Software/Pallid/Gritty" (likewise cinematographer Haider Zafar). You get the idea. And then there's Danny Dyer himself, bearded, with a sleepy look on his face that blends fatigue with concussive confusion. "How come I keep doing this?" he seems to be saying. "Is this all there is? Isn't there something more?" Vendetta isn't a bad film, it's just hugely forgettable. It's a movie that became dated the moment the cameras started rolling, a film that offers nothing and has so little strength of conviction, clearly expects nothing in return.