STARRING: MATILDA LUTZ; KEVIN JANSSENS; VINCENT COLOMBE; GUILLLAUME BOUCHEDE
DIRECTED BY: CORALIE FARGEAT
AMovieGuy.com's RATING: 3 STARS (Out of 4)
The entire time watching the French, blood soaked film Revenge, I couldn't stop thinking about Thelma & Louise and how the 1991 Ridley Scott film was still an accomplishment that cinema had yet to top. Director Coralie Fargeat comes close in her debut feature, a sweaty action film about survival, old-fashioned gore, and a feminist retaliation fantasy, in what is hands down the perfect film for the current women's movement we are living in. This is a narrative that some will find hard to stomach and for others it is the perfect antidote for what privileged males have coming to them. Revenge is a fast-paced, violent, and heavy hitting endurance test.
It begins with a couple, arriving via helicopter to a remote mansion for a desert getaway. Jen (Matilda Lutz) is an attractive women, enjoying her time with Richard (Kevin Janssens), a married man, who has good looks, too much confidence, and enormous wealth. To Jen's surprise, the couple is only alone for a day, before Richard's hunting buddies, Stan (Vincent Colombe) and Dimitri (Guillaume Bouchede), arrive for male bonding with ATV's and guns. The four of them have a friendly night of good food, drinks, and dancing. Jen, in her playful way, dances with Stan, as her beauty mesmerizes all of the gentleman present. Stan is a scummy guy and sees the wrong signals from Jen. The next day, with Richard running errands, Stan brutally rapes Jen, while Dimitri lets it all happen. Instead of defending her, Richard blames the victim, and pushes his mistress off a cliff, to what should be her death, but it isn't. This is a woman who won't be stopped. She has a hole in her side with blood pouring out...And still she persisted.
What follows after is what the title of the movie is: a whole lot of Revenge. When the three men return to dispose of the body they find that Jen is not there. Following a trail of blood, they split up along a small lake to find her, with hopes of putting an end to their “problem”. The dissection of each male character is precise, and along the way Jen comes up with various ways to heal her wounds, remove a massive shard of glass from her foot, and take down her assailants with ferocious anger. To say that these men get what's coming to them would be an understatement.
For almost all who view Revenge, such as I did, they will feel conflicted on the films messaging. On the left side, it is a feminist piece about women standing up for themselves against the toxic patriarchy. On the right, it is for the Tomi Lahren crowd, where protecting yourself with a gun is an opportunity you've always been hoping for. Revenge is violent across the board, but it is also important to remember that it is a twisted fantasy. Jen's position is not a situation we should relish, but one we watch with shock and awe. It is her climb back to inflict pain upon her assailants that makes the action worthwhile.
In the end, Revenge is powerful in all the ways that cinema can be. A pulse pounding score, cinematography that sweats and shines like the sun, and a setting that is similar to the desert wasteland of Mad Max: Fury Road. The protagonist is a unique combination of the fierce attitude of Furiosa, the playfulness of Thelma, and the thick skin of Louise. Matilda Lutz is going to be a star and there is plenty of reason to be on the lookout for more great works by director Coralie Fargeat. This is a movie that automatically places you on a path to greatness. Revenge is bloody good.
Written by: Leo Brady