The Ballad of Billy McCrae (2021) – Film Review

The Ballad of Billy McRae Film Review main

Director: Chris Crow
Cast: David Hayman, Sianad Gregory, Ian Virgo

By @Roger Crow

They don’t make many Westerns in Wales. Not the traditional sort. But this thriller may as well be set in the old West. That said, it also owes a nod to classic film noirs like Double Indemnity and The Postman Always Rings Twice.

The obligatory hunky stranger is Chris Blythe (Ian Virgo). He returns to his home town in Wales after losing a fortune in Canada.

The Ballad of Billy McRae Film Review movie

“Shady past”

Chris meets Elen (Sianad Gregory), a volatile and charismatic woman. The chemistry between them crackles like a metal fork in a microwave.

Before you can say: “Hello, I’m a hunky stranger. I’ve come to fix your patio”, they’re all over each other.

But he has a shady past, and it colours his relationship with Elen’s father Billy, a very dangerous man.

The Ballad of Billy McRae Film Review thriller


With grit the backdrop to many of the scenes, there’s also plenty of flinty substance to this production. It helps that the cast are so good. David Hayman gives an electrifying turn as the ruthless businessman and dad whose look could kill. Solid performances too from Ross O’Hennessey and Gerald Tyler.

Director Chris Crow (no relation) does a good job with a modest budget, and while the title is a bit rubbish, Quarry would be a better double-edged moniker, or Elen/Back.

Anyway, it looks good, though the TikTok-style filters are a tad annoying after a while. And while it might not be the most original film, Gregory‘s performance as the femme fatale means it’s worth a look.

The Ballad of Billy McCrae is in UK Cinemas now

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