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Review: Badsville

January 26, 2018

By John Corrado

★★½ (out of 4)

Wink (Ian McLaren) is a member of the Badsville Kings, a greaser gang that tries to rule over the depressed title town in Badsville, a gritty crime drama that takes place just outside of Los Angeles and explores themes of loyalty and rivalry between gang members.

When Wink falls in love with a woman named Suzy (Tamara Duarte), and becomes both a brother and father figure to the preteen Sammy (Gregory Kasyan) whose mother (Kate Campbell) is a drug addict, he becomes determined to leave his violent life behind and hopefully get out of the town for good.

But this puts a wedge between Wink and his best friend Benny (Benjamin Barrett), a fellow gang member whose allegiances run deep but jealousies run deeper.  This also heightens rivalries with the Aces, a ruthless gang of dedicated adversaries to the Badsville Kings, who are ruled by the brutal Mr. Gavin (Robert Knepper).

Although the story follows a somewhat predictable and at times clichéd path, the performances and cinematography elevate Badsville every step of the way, and make it worth seeing.  Working from a decent script by actors Ian McLaren and Benjamin Barrett, who also impress in the central roles, Canadian director April Mullen does a good job of handling the flawed characters and maintaining a gritty atmosphere throughout, keeping us suitably engaged in the increasingly tragic story.

Badsville is now playing in limited release at Carlton Cinema in Toronto.

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