Craig F Watkins
Craig F Watkins
Revenge and justice. Two words that can mean almost the exact same thing to most people - or something drastically different. It's all in the eye of whoever is dishing it out. The dishing out is where Craig F Watkins "The Vigilante" comes into play. Vigilante justice. The combination of revenge and punishment, for a criminal deemed let off easy by a majority... or even single person. An act frowned upon because again, justice is something that is subjective. I may consider a verbal reprimand enough - if someone steals a stick of my gum. Someone else may think an amputation above the wrist is in order. Imagine that! This is where the court system comes into play - and also where Craig Watkins gets his story. What happens when the system fails? What happens when the victim is left worse off than the criminal? And finally... what happens when someone has had enough? When someone decides to take matters into their own hands. Judge, jury and executioner. All rolled into one.
Clocking in at around twelve minutes, "The Vigilante" packs a lot of movie into a short time. I've essentially summed up the plot above, without spoiling the film, but how does it all look and play? Honestly? It looks... and sounds great. Within the world of indie, low budget movies - there is a lot of inexperience and first time blunders production-wise. Not the case here. "The Vigilante" looks and is paced the way it's creators probably hoped it would be. Slick, polished and to the point. No real production complaints from me. Not this time around.
As for the film itself? Let me be blunt. The second half is superior. During the first five or six minutes, things felt a little forced... a little awkward. I understand that this was probably on purpose. Right from the get-go our leading lady, played by Laura Ellis, opens the film composing herself for what is to follow. Perhaps the uncomfortable nature of her meeting was a little heavily acted? It's hard to really tell knowing it was probably meant to be this way - but once we got into the second part of the film, mainly once the bar scene is left in the dust, things really pick up. Had the first half been as good as the second, I have no doubt my rating would have been a little higher. It's really that good - but not for the faint of heart. Let me just write that the conclusion of "The Vigilante" is graphic, horrendous... and yes ladies and gents. Very fitting to the crime.
With all the good I've mentioned, there was also a scene(s) that really made me scratch my head. A vigilante, especially one as... active as this one... probably wouldn't leave the scene of a crime... travel through a building... get into her car and drive an unknown distance... covered in blood. Pardon all the periods but I really wanted to get my point across. It felt a little ridiculous and kind of off-set the tone this film built. I also couldn't help going back to that first scene in the bar, and the uncomfortable nature of our lead character, knowing that this wasn't her first rodeo. Or even her third. Just something I noticed - just saying.
When it's all said and done, what I wrote just above is really only nit-picking. This was an entertaining short film. That second half was far superior to the first half, but that definitely doesn't mean the first half was bad. "The Vigilante" did the trick and honestly? Grossed me out a little at the end - but I'm one of the folks who would have agreed... the punishment fits the crime. What will you think? You'll have to watch to find out. Three and a half stars.