Blu-ray & DVD review: Payback Season ★☆☆☆☆

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This is a poisonous concoction of dreadful writing, awful acting, vicious violence and horrible characters. Adam Deacon, who seems to have become weirdly popular of late, plays a premiership footballer desperate to start a relationship with a well-spoken showbiz journalist (Nichola Burley).

But our unlikable, arrogant leading man gets involved in funding a gang headed by a childhood friend. This of course spirals out of control, leading to a series of emotional showdowns with his girlfriend and friends that would embarrass even the editing department of an episode of Hollyoaks.

It’s a shame this film is such a horrible piece of work, as some of the people involved clearly have talent. While Deacon is an actor of limited range, Leo Gregory, who plays his friend and colleague, can be superb in the right role. His turn as a sadistic prison warden in Silent Witness terrified viewers earlier this year. But even he, and Chronicles of Narnia actor Anna Popplewell, are head-bangingly dire here, desperately trying to work with a script that sounds as if it were scribbled on the back of a cigarette packet after a drunken night out.

The advertising for the film makes it look as if it’s a football-riot drama, with the slogan ‘It’s all about to kick off’ splashed across the front of the blu-ray and DVD. There is also a quote describing the film as ‘Lock Stock meets The Football Factory’, though it isn’t made apparent what publication this nugget of untruth has been gathered from.

In the end, violence erupts, people get hurt, and the viewer is reminded that, whilst there is a lot of good stuff going on in independent British cinema, there is also a lot of laughable trash. I suppose one can’t appreciate the good without the bad.

Payback Season (2012), directed by Danny Donnelly, is released on blu-ray and DVD by Revolver Entertainment, Certificate 15. 

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Second year BA Film & English Student. Watches too many films and enjoys good novels.

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