The prostitute hoping to get away from it all and make a new life for herself. The young girl new to prostitution who learns a few harsh lessons quicker than she would have liked to. Accidental eyewitnesses to a crime that involves a corrupt officer of the law. None of these elements are new and none of them are really reinvented in X: Night Of Vengeance. That doesn’t stop the film being a fairly enjoyable experience, however. It just puts it in amongst an ever-growing field of much better efforts.
Viva Bianca is Holly, a “working girl” who seems to have placed herself in a pretty good position (no pun intended) within the business. She doesn’t have to walk the streets and she has a number of trusted colleagues that she can easily work with during private shows. She’s also reached her financial target and is all set to head off to Paris and start her life anew. Things take a turn for the worse when a colleague lets her down as she is heading towards a lucrative job. Fortunately, she encounters young Shay (played by Hanna Mangan Lawrence), a newcomer to the streets who needs to wise up fast before she lands in big trouble. Shay takes Holly up on her offer and the two head to the job. Things are going well until they go horribly wrong and before you can say “overused plot point” the two women are heading their separate ways and praying that they’ll not be found by the perpetrator of the crime that they just witnessed. This is a movie though. Anyone can be found in the movies, no matter how big the city and how many crowds you can disappear into.
Director Jon Hewitt (who co-wrote the movie with Belinda McClory) certainly tries his best to make the stale material seem fresh and original but, for the most part, he doesn’t quite manage to pull it off. There aren’t really any big twists, the violence isn’t shocking enough when it appears and the film takes potentially edgy and dark material and treats it too gently. Many may feel that Hewitt deserves to be commended for his approach to things, and that’s a fair point, but I couldn’t help wishing that he’d done something more, something just to reward any viewer who would feel as if they’d seen it all before. A viewer like myself.
Thankfully, the characters are all interesting and/or likeable enough and that certainly helps to add to the enjoyment of the thing. Viva Bianca is believable as the professional Holly, just trying to kill time and get by until her dream life can begin, and Hanna Mangan Lawrence is suitably naive and childish as the young Shay, a nervy girl trying to pass her off as a working woman. Peter Docker does well with his role, portraying someone as dark and dangerous as he is genuinely caring and Eamon Farren stands out as a cab driver who offers the chance of something magical to Shay.
X: Night Of Vengeance isn’t bad. It’s well made, well acted and often interesting when showing the psychologies of desperate people. But there are many similiar movies that put it in the shade.
X: Night Of Vengeance “x-plodes onto DVD on February 20, 2012” (as the press release puts it. The movie is accompanied by a “making of” featurette that runs for a decent length of time and a number of passable, but unexciting, interviews with the main players involved.
DIRECTOR: JON HEWITT
WRITER: JON HEWITT, BELINDA MCCLORY
STARS: VIVA BIANCA, HANNA MANGAN LAWRENCE, PETER DOCKER, STEPHEN PHILLIPS, EAMON FARREN
RUNTIME: 90 MINS APPROX