Review: Vendetta by Nick Oldham (5/5)

Wednesday 11 June 2014
George never meant to kill the thief – he was just defending his shop from the jacked up kids trying to rob him. Break the kid’s jaw maybe, but not kill him. Later the doorbell rings and in revenge the gang swarm into George’s house, beat him senseless, rape his wife, tie them up and set fire to them. 

It isn’t long before Jimmy Vickers, George’s son, is on the trail of the gang who murdered his parents, exacting his own kind of chillingly brutal justice. Jimmy is an interrogation specialist for the military in Afghanistan who knows more than he should. With the police closing in and his own regiment also determined to stop him, the body count mounts up.

Jimmy creates a media frenzy - London’s first vigilante of the 21st Century - but will his devastating course of action spell the end for the woman he loves?

As a huge fan of Vendetta, I consider it to be one of the best British films released in recent years, I was excited to read this novelisation of it. I was wondering how much I would enjoy it though given that I knew everything that was going to happen but it was a very good book.

In the film certain things are insinuated but not explained whereas in the book the author can describe and explain things more rather than have the viewers work it out for themselves, for example the first time Jimmy Vickers exacts revenge. So you do get a bit more of an understanding of the characters and their actions. There's also a few scenes not in the film, for example Vickers out in Afghanistan which I thought was a good touch and helps the reader understand Vickers more. He is a brilliant character.

There's also a couple of changes for example Jimmy's dad works in a shop whereas in the film he's defending a woman getting robbed in the street. Most other parts of the book though are just like the film but for me having watched the film numerous times it never felt boring or repetitive, the film was pretty much playing in my head whilst reading! It also has some fantastic actors, the brilliant Josef Altin being a particular highlight, and so picturing them just made the read more vivid in my head. There's also pictures from the film throughout the book which whilst in black and white are still a nice touch.

The film is very, very brutal and the book just as brutal. On screen the scenes speak for themselves but only a talented author could make them as hard hitting in word form as they are on screen. Some of the torture scenes are particularly bad but for me I always say the more gruesome the better. Nick Oldham has taken some brilliant scenes, added some great description and created some very atmospheric scenes that parts of the book were just as enjoyable as the film itself. The book's ending was just as shocking as the film. It reminded me of Of Mice and Men, every time I read that book I find myself hoping it'll end differently and of course it never does.

For those new to Vendetta I really would say watch the film before reading this book but at the same time people may enjoy the book less having watched the film given that it is essentially the exact same story. Both are brilliant examples of their genre though, the film is excellent and this book is great. Nick is a fantastic writer and I can't believe I've never read his work before. Both the film and the book are more than worth your time and money. You can buy both the book and the film from Amazon. Highly reccommend watching Vendetta but please buy a copy and help support British film!

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