SPECIAL FEATURE: DVD Review: A Day Of Violence

Film: A Day Of Violence
Release date: 9th August 2010
Certificate: 18
Running time: 101 mins
Director: Darren Ward
Starring: Christopher Fosh, Giovanni Lombardo Radice, Nick Rendell, Victor D Thorn, Peter Rnic
Genre: Crime/Thriller
Studio: 101
Format: DVD
Country: UK

This is an English-Language release.

A film soaked in copious amounts of blood and sex, A Day Of Violence is a low-budget schlock shock fest for only the toughest and sturdiest of stomachs. A UK film, this features Italian veteran Giovanno Lombardo.

Between the bloody vignettes, this film’s flimsy plot follows the exploits of Mitchell (Rendell), a low-life debt collector. He steals £100,000 from the wrong people, a gang headed by Boswell (Thorn) who, of course, takes umbrage and chases Mitchell for retribution. Cue a cavalcade of quite sick blood sopping scenes that seem to stretch over much more than just the day promised in the title.

The chase is on through seedy underworld hotspots and alleys that seem to be empty of anyone other than our cast. As Mitchell does his best to evade these grimy bloodlust-fuelled enthusiasts, he makes a journey of his own, whilst pitching against some nasty characters to perhaps reach some kind of redemption in spite of the theme of violence…

The opening set of scenes shows that old hand of Italian exploitation Lombardo being knifed after a tacky sex scene that brings to mind the opening of Edward Norton’s American History X. This trick, the murder of our Italian veteran, is an old staple of the Grindhouse industry - to show a flicker of a mildly prestige name, only to slaughter them unapologetically. Setting out his stall extremely early, Ward pitches this as a movie for the crowd who enjoy the gratuitous side of cinema, the Grindhouse posse.

This mess of a movie is a real test, given the gratuitous events that unfold on screen, but the biggest issue, that seems to render the whole endeavour completely pointless, is that we already know the fate of Mitchell, as he is narrating the story whilst dead. The viewer is left to either enjoy or revile in the meaningless soft-core pornography, and overindulgent violence.

As for the acting; Susy, Mitchell’s paramour, has some chops, but Rendell, who plays Mitchell, tries embarrassingly to ape the efforts of acting luminaries who have blazed trails in British gangster flicks. In his attempts at Ray Winstone and Jason Statham in a trademark black leather jacket, he instead hits a tangled mix between completely amateur and totally talentless, recalling soap character Phil Mitchell, but with a more grating false London accent. Couple this with a script (written by Ward) devoid of any real coherence that stumbles along with expletives and clipped short sentences, and you literally have an episode of Eastenders on high strength hallucinogens being helmed by a serial killer with ADHD – like that popular BBC1 soap, it’s cliché ridden and cringe worthy at inopportune times, and the delivery of the lines flavoured with over-imitation.

Ward, as director takes his cue from the Guy Ritchie school of filmmaking, hoping that scampering editing and lots of, admittedly good, if derivative bloody effects will catapult him to the heights of respected Brit director. He has a long way to go.

There are plus points: core scenes aren’t allowed to stilt, the pace is kept tight as the film progresses, and the framing and tone of lighting in exposing the gritty, grotty London underworld shows some promise - and talent in the eye of Ward, who also knows who his desired audience are, and panders to them quite shamelessly - although his attempts to crowbar in some humanity is another failure. This movie is so imbued with the video nasty spirit - which it thrives on - that character redemption is pointless.

Without a plot, gratuitous and pointless, it will take a particular and worrying type of viewer to really enjoy A Day Of Violence, although with hefty dabs of sex and blood, it should offer them sufficient titillation. JM


  1. hah this is exactly the kind of review that will help your film do well...how ironic!!!! You stand accused of pandering to your target audience Mr Ward and delivering a superlative slice of exploitation film-making !! As a director that's job done mate..more power too ya.

  2. Considering some of the acting I have seen in mainstream movies, the guys and gals in this film did very well. I think you you as a 'reviewer' confuse the hollywood overacting style with normal life and the way normal people can be. Nasty, nice, hard and soft. You as a reviewer are pretty crap really