Man of Violence (1970)

Man of Violence aka Moon is a scrappy little 60s brit exploitation movie by famed scuzz-master Andy Milligan made just before he concentrated all his skills on horror pictures. While yes this was released in 1971, it is nevertheless animated through and through by the colour and attitudes of the 60s. All the men are suited geezers, all the women are buxom sex bunnies and it’s full of softcore smut and blood so red and paint-like you could decorate a bordello with it. All that stuff is a lot of fun, as is Milligan’s lo-fi resourcefulness. A shootout in a graveyard – a sparse British graveyard with crumbling gravestones no less – is an aesthetic highlight in that it reminds you of the crew behind the camera running and gunning it in the service of cheap genre thrills.

The plot is unnecessarily convoluted, twisting and turning itself so out of shape that I just gave up following it by a certain point, but the swagger of the whole thing keeps you engaged. A change of locale in the last act is a welcome shock to the senses as Milligan trades the gritty London pavements for a dusty dry foreign landscape with our main character suddenly decked out in a white suit, immediately bringing to mind Warren Oates in Sam Peckinpah’s similarly purgatorial thriller Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia. There’s a lot to be charmed by. It’s certainly nasty, and while the sexist, racist vernacular of the time hasn’t aged well but it’d be a fools errand to expect anything less as you can’t really get much lower than the kind of gutter-level entertainment Milligan was trying to deliver here. The actresses are all gorgeous and there’s a curious bisexual element to the main character casually dropped in to ensure this avoids being totally hampered by the bigoted ideals of the time in which it was made.

Watched on BFI blu-ray

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