Badsville is a film best described to be the equivalent of a male’s version of a Sunday afternoon Lifetime movie. It has a predictable narrative. Bland, uninteresting characters that the viewer will find themselves not caring about and will be more likely to find joy in the end credits than that of the story’s resolution.
Synopsis: The “Badsville Kings” are the most feared greaser gang in the slum town of Badsville. After promising his dying mother to leave town in the search of a better life, the gang’s leader finds that his attachments to the town are bloodline strong. Searching to fill the void of an insatiable forbidden love, a gang member attempts to stop him from leaving town by any means necessary. In the end, one must learn that Badsville is the town where only few make it out before their time. (Epic Pictures)
Starring: Ian McLaren, Benjamin Barrett, and Tamara Duarte
Writers: Ian McLaren and Benjamin Barrett
Director: April Mullen
Rating: 14A (Canada)
Running Time: 97mins
From the very beginning, you realize fairly quickly that the main character, Wink (McLaren), is not played by a strong actor. Wink provides voice overs for both the opening and closing of the movie in which he describes the dilemma of living in his good-for-nothing town and being the same type of gangster that his father once was. He realizes that the only way to a better life is picking up and leaving, but his obligation to his gang and his best friend, Benny, serve as roadblocks on his pathway out.
What makes this a difficult story to become invested in, is that before you even finish reading the previous sentence you already knew how this story would end. Some will surely formulate the specific beats that the movie would hit in order to emphasize Wink’s struggle against his town of despair and the people that populate it. All of your assumptions will probably be correct. The film does a horrible job of separating itself from many similar stories told in just this same manner. It does very little except for some clever camerawork to distance itself from being just another overused cinematic trope.
The main piece of frustration from Badsville that if changed could’ve led to a much more palpable film was the character of Benny (Barrett), Wink’s best friend. Benny’s character goes around spouting off dialogue like, “Daddy-O“,”He’s a mean cat.” and “There’s gonna be a rumble tomorrow at noon.” all of which are eye roll inducing. It seemed as if every time he spoke it made the story even less compelling to watch and while Wink wasn’t a particularly strong character played by a strong actor, he still did an okay job in his role as did most of the others. However, anytime Benny entered the frame any progress in the narrative was blown apart.
Early in the film, Benny and Wink are having a conversation about leaving their town and Benny proceeds to ask Wink, “You’ll never leave me right?” The moment that line was uttered, it became easy to figure out where this movie was going and in that regard, it wasn’t necessarily a let down. From that point, the rest of the movie was a game of patience to make it to the end credits which thankfully eventually came.
In closing, out of all the things within Badsville that could possibly redeem such a bland effort towards storytelling, there were several well shot scenes that had beautiful colorization to them. That’s it. The rest was about as vanilla as they come. If you are able to see Badsville, you will know within the first five minutes whether or not you’ve seen this type of movie before. Odds are you have which is why you should simply move on from this story and find something else more worth your time. If you hurry, you could probably catch something better on Lifetime.