We’ve had a few properties dealing with gods on Earth scenarios: American Gods, Good Omens and the like recently. Righteous Villains is a low budget but high concept entry in that subgenre.
Conman Jeremiah (Jamie Crew) and foul-mouthed former prostitute-turned-publican Jolie (Lois Brabin-Platt) are tasked to save a child captured by the ‘New World Order’ and held on a distant island. Jolie is full of rage following the murder of her husband Micky (played by CSI’s Gray Dourdan), which we see within the opening quarter that establishes the characters of our two anti-heroes. Their journey will take them to the depths of Hell in this surreal, nightmarish narrative.
Writer and director Savvas D. Michael (Original Gangster) provides plenty of off-kilter visuals here, but unfortunately not everything works. We have inserts of the wonderful Steven Berkoff ranting as only he can, naked bodies, and religious symbolism as Michael throws all he can afford into the mix. There are some gorgeous images amongst things, with Argento-esque colour washes cover the cracks in the mise-en-scène. Michael perhaps uses too many narrative shifts in such a short film (running around 75 minutes, including credits), leaving the viewer breathless trying to keep up with everything.
It’s possible that Righteous Villains will find an appreciative audience to give it the cult status it deserves, but a mainstream crowd will no doubt be left scratching their heads if they come to this expecting a regular gangster drama.
Release Date: April 19th (DVD and Digital)