Film Review: BADSVILLE (USA/Canada 2016)

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Badsville Poster
A violent greaser gang is ripped apart when their leader finds love and is determined to leave Badsville – a town where love doesn’t exist.


April Mullen


BADSVILLE is about bad people in the town of Dodge.  The main character is a scary gang leader called Wink (Ian McLaren) whose mother has succumbed to cancer.  The mother makes Wink promise to leave town as it is a bad town.  Never mind a lot of the badness is Wink’s own doing.  With gang members like his (The Badsville Kings) especially his best friend Benny (Benjamin Barrett), who needs enemies?

The Badsville Kings enemy is the rival gang called the Badsville Aces, made even nastier by that gang leader’s father (Robert Knepper).

There is not much story in BADSVILLE.  It is a heart-felt gangster drama with older gang members that still behave like teens.  They try to let go of the past which somehow keeps creeping back into their lives.  Wink meets and falls in love with a local girl Suzy (Tamara Duarte).  The pleasure of the film is the film’s nitty atmosphere and watching the shady characters destroy each other.  Note that the film is no easy watch.  Most of the make-up in the film consists of doing faces with dried blood and fight scars.  The time of the film is not stated, but there are no cell phones, so one can likely say the film is set in the 60’s or 50’s.

The film contains a lot of anger.  One scene has Wink siting in his car banging the steering wheel and the roof for a full 2 minutes.  If not anger, the characters are wallowing in self-pity.  Wink’s girl spends time explaining how she should be felt sorry for with her sob story of her mother and drunken step-father.  Not that the audience really cares or made to care.

The real mystery of the film is why Will just doesn’t just leave town instead of just moping about it.  Just do it!  

If Will and his Badsville Kings gang are not beating each other up, they are either bashing up other gang members or fucking their girlfriends.

One of the film’s flaws is the main character, Will which the audience is supposed to be sympathetic with.  But the actor playing him is 59, and really creepy looking with slick hair, an over-wide smile and tattooed fingers, besides having a good body.

BADSVILLE also contains dialogue that is corny at best.  Wink to Little Cat: “I made a promise, we have to keep promises.  I want you to make a promise.  To Leave Town!  There is no love in this town.”

The plus in this film has is its nitty-gritty atmosphere.  BADSVILLE is a male dominated world where violence, sex and hate persists.  It is surprising that the film was directed by a female, April Mullen (BELOW HER MOUTH, REAL DETECTIVE) – to her credit!  Despite it being a Canadian/American co-production, the film was shot largely in L.A. and in the U.S.



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