Savvas D. Michael
Savvas D. Michael
The Dead Sea Scrolls, The New World Order, Satan, conspiracy theories, and a pair of righteous villains all crammed into one low-budget feature film - running at just over an hour in length. The only thing missing? The kitchen sink. In the film, Jolie and Jeremiah are, well, two criminals who want nothing more than to get what they want in life. Jolie wants her husband back, and Jeremiah wants to be rich - both will do anything to achieve their goals, and by anything, I really mean anything. Scams, violence, and even murder are not out of the question - and these two miscreants are the only hope for the very soul of a child. Interested?
If you want to talk about a pair of unlikely heroes, the basis for any such conversation could start here and honestly? "Righteous Villains" has a lot to offer, especially for a low-budget, indie flick - but this story is not entirely new, although the cramming of so many different religious and tinfoil-hatter ideals is pretty cool. Think of Savvas D. Michael's film as a cross between a spaghetti western and your favorite classic Tarantino film, with a side order of the Schwarzenegger movie, "End of Days." You'd definitely be on the right track. "Righteous Villains" is a location spanning indie that prefers style over technicalities, and once the film brings you full circle, you're going to wonder where the time went. Well, for the most part anyway.
You see, reader, this is one of those movies that shine brightest at the start, pulling you in for the long haul no matter what the outcome. "Righteous Villains" never actually drops the ball but does have a significant shift in tone from start to end. I want to write that this is a complicated film because of all the different elements contained within, but that's not quite right because although there are many elements, I had no problem following along. Perhaps it's just the sheer amount of plot devices, but whatever the cause, by the time the credits rolled, I felt as if I had just read a thousand-page book.
That's not to say that I wasn't happy with the way things turned out, but I've always been a fan of keeping things simple. Leave the complexity for eagle-eyed viewers to discover in the form of easter eggs or shout outs. Now, Michael's film never hit the point of information overload, but it did flirt with the concept, especially later in the movie. And yet, I can't help but marvel at the things that did come together. I can't help but appreciate that I did root for our anti-heroes. Jeremiah is an old lady swindling con man, and Jolie is, among other things, a murderer. These are not people you associate with saving the world from the devil - and yet... it works. Sometimes, the most unlikely of elements come together in a charming manner. This was one of those times.
At the end of the day, "Righteous Villains" is a well-written multi-genre independent film with some solid acting and a unique spin. Savvas D. Michael and his troupe may not impress the hard-core cinephiles of our time, but "Righteous Villains" may push some casual viewers towards the indie film world - and there's nothing wrong with that. Nothing at all. Three and a half out of five stars - time well spent.