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Revenge (2018)

Reviewed By Greg Ursic
Posted 05/14/18 02:42:20

"Hell hath no fury like a woman pushed too far"
4 stars (Worth A Look)

As blonde bombshell Jen (Matilda Lutz) steps out of the helicopter sucking on a lollipop, we see her lingering reflection in muscled boyfriend Richard’s (Kevin Janssens) sunglasses, which leaves little doubt as to the nature of their trip. Their dirty weekend in the desert is interrupted by phone calls from his wife worried about catering and more ominously, the early arrival of his hunting buddies. Men being the entitled idiots they often are, playful flirtation results in bruised egos leading to rape and attempted murder.

Writer/director Coralie Fargeat has a carefully crafted vision for her movie: although she deliberately sexualizes Jen at the outset, this is not meant to be mistaken for one of those dreadful soft-core porn flicks. In addition, Jen is never naked, and so as not to pander the rape scene mercifully takes place largely off screen. But rendering Jen as a simple victim is clearly not Fargeat’s intent, as evidenced by the fact that soon after being broken - literally – Jen undergoes a vigorous metamorphosis and the race for revenge is on.

Jen could easily have devolved into a Ripleyesque caricature, but Matilda Lutz keeps the challenging role balanced, infusing her with raw emotion and a degree of vulnerability. Kevin Janssens also succeeds in rendering Richard as realistically despicable – you not only genuinely hate him, you probably know someone like him (well, accept for the attempted murderer part).

Where Revenge really shines is the squirm inducing moments: whether it’s people getting impaled, heads being blown off, Arya Stark style stabbings, or using fire to cure what ails you, audiences will definitely be watching through half covered eyes. And if the sight of blood makes you feel ookie, be warned, you could bathe in the stuff when these characters get injured - the final scene is literally awash in red.

While not a completely new take on the genre, Revenge provides a refreshing perspective with a great female protagonist, is well acted, entertaining, engaging and despite a slow start, the pacing picks up at about the 15 minute mark, and never lets up again and spins out in a dizzying blood spattered finale..

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