Revenge is one of those rare films that not only promises, but also delivers.
It could easily be pigeonholed as a rape revenge horror film, but becomes so much more than that, steering away from the sexualisation to focus on the heart-pounding, brutal, and desperate fight for survival.
And boy is it a fight.
Revenge demands your attention and forces you to endure each scene to the bitter end, so it’s little wonder that it has been causing such a stir in the festival circuits.
When American socialite Jen spends a weekend away with her lover Richard before he embarks on a hunting trip with his friends, she gets more than she bargained for, when the whole affair turns incredibly ugly.
When one of the men, Stan forces himself on Jen while Richard is away, things go from bad to worse as Richard, who is unwilling for any of this to come to light, tries to pay his way out. When Jen refuses, he resorts to the only way he knows how… violence, and tries to end it all by pushing Jen off a cliff face.
Against all odds, Jen survives and every instinct in her being pushes her to claw her way out of the barren wastelands and claim back her dignity.
Some people may be quick to label this film as a feminist piece, which it is, but more than that, French director Coralie Fargeat produces a compelling narrative that is both stylish and gritty and realistic portrayal of the lengths that Jen has to go through a will to live. It’s a directorial feature that projects Fargeat immediately into the spotlight as she showcases how to make what essentially is a subject that can be all to hard to bear, and yet with heart and strong conviction we too are willing Jen to persist to the end behind every grimace and painful endeavour she must make to get there.
The acting is superb from a relatively small cast, with Matilda Lutz (Jen) more than capable of holding her own as the lone female opposite the trio of Kevin Janssens (Richard), Vincent Colombe (Stan), and Guillaume Bouchede (Dmitri).
By the films conclusion, all the characters must face up to their choices by pouring out their guts in order to bare all. There is no hiding when you are in the middle of the desert. You have no choice but fight in a barren and desolate landscape, and Revenge does exactly that.
Beautifully shot by cinematographer, Robrecht Heyvaert, with an amazing score by Robin Coudert that compliments the narrative and keeps driving up the tension, Revenge offers some great performances that push their acting to the very limits. Director Coralie Fargeat manages to harness all these elements together whilst providing a stunning movie that elevates itself above the quagmire of sensationalism by using smart and intense drama at its core.
A must watch movie.
– Saul Muerte