Friday, June 26, 2020

Revenge (2017)

Revenge is a “revenge” film. It can be compared to the seminal I Spit on Your Grave (1978), but a more accurate comparison would be to Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003). With its stylish cinematography and unrelenting exploitation atmosphere, Revenge delivers the promised goods topped with a generous helping of blood.

The film builds its tension slowly and only becomes shoot-em-up schlock in the final sequence. This is perfect pacing for sci-fi fans, and it’s no surprise considering Fargeat previously made a sci-fi short called Reality+ (2014).


Yes, Revenge is a French film. I don’t know why that bothers some people; I love French films. If the American cinema machine showed the Revenge franchise as much love as they do the garbage superhero sequels, I would go to the theater every time. But let’s be real here, Revenge is for that common subset who like both French films and action movies, which is apparently a small demographic.

The bottom line is this: Where critics claim to see a pretentious French film, I see a stylish action thriller. The audience approval ratings don’t lie; this is a fun fucking movie, and I can’t wait for Fargeat’s next flick.

The plot is pretty straightforward: badass mistress is left alone at shady rich boyfriend’s Australian second home, boyfriend’s friends get uncomfortably close to mistress while boyfriend is away, time passes, boyfriend gets back and makes stupid promises and/or veiled threats, situation turns hostile, boyfriend pushes mistress off a cliff, mistress gets revenge.

I was slightly confused by the pushing-off-the-cliff part. Do the guys want her dead? It doesn’t seem that way. Is she suicidal? It doesn’t seem that way, but she gets ready to jump off of the cliff, then the boyfriend pushes her off. Maybe it’s implied that he’s some kind of drug kingpin and this is how he takes care of business. Whatever, the film is more about spectacle than story.

Matilda Lutz plays the mistress, a woman of action. The film is called Revenge. She takes revenge. I am a big believer in simplicity of character motivations. She’s a troubleshooter; she solves problems. Don’t push her to revenge.

Lutz gets revenge on the boyfriend’s friends, then she confronts the end boss in an epic spectacle of red. It’s gruesome, gratuitous, and delicious. The stupid infomercial playing in the sunroom was a nice touch, its faux sentimentality perfectly counterpointing the human struggle at play.

Revenge was made by a sci-fi director. It’s like Star Wars, except replace the Ewoks with blood-soaked mercenaries. I love it.