X: Night Of Vengeance (R18)

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner27/01/2012

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 90 mins

Watchable, well made Australian thriller that's not quite trashy enough to achieve the exploitation vibe it's going for but succeeds thanks to strong performances from Viva Bianca and Hanna Mangan-Lawrence.

What's it all about?
Co-written and directed by Jon Hewitt, X: Night of Vengeance stars Viva Bianca (from Spartacus: Blood and Sand) as Holly, a 29 year old high-class call girl in Sydney who's about to retire to her dream life in Paris. Her time-honoured “one last job” involves a threesome with a drug dealer and when her colleague slips in the shower and knocks herself out, Holly finds inexperienced 17 year old hooker Shay (Hanna Mangan-Lawrence) on the street and talks her into taking the job.

However, things quickly go wrong when, after the threesome, their trick is murdered by a corrupt cop (Peter Docker) while they hide in the bathroom. Soon, Holly and Shay find themselves on the run and quickly realise they can't trust anyone except cab-driving wannabe magician Harry (Eamon Farren).

The Good
Bianca and Mangan-Lawrence are both excellent and aside from being drop-dead gorgeous, the pair also have an appealing chemistry together that works well, while Docker makes a suitably nasty villain and there are strong supporting turns from the likes of Stephen Phillips (as Holly's thuggish would-be boyfriend) and Freya Tingley (as a fellow streetwalker who befriends Shay).

The film is impressively shot, with Mark Pugh's colourful cinematography making the most of the neon-drenched streets and the various Sydney locations. Similarly, Hewitt maintains a decent pace and has a nice eye for moments of shocking violence, though his sex scenes are less than impressive.

The Bad
The main problem with the film is that it's not quite enjoyably trashy enough to pull off the 70s style exploitation vibe it's obviously going for. As a result, there's tonnes of gratuitous nudity (there's an in-your-face shot of a naked man very early on, but after that it's just frequent topless shots), but without decent sex scenes (everything either happens out of shot or off-camera), it all seems rather forced.

Also, it may be a minor quibble, but the title makes no sense at all, as there's no vengeance in the film whatsoever (admittedly, the original Australian title was just “X”, but even so).

Worth seeing?
It's not quite as good as it could have been, but X: Night of Vengeance is an enjoyable, well made thriller with strong performances from its two leads. Great final line too.

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Content updated: 17/02/2020 22:47

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