It doesn’t seem to be easy to pull off a rape/revenge film without it becoming nothing more than a heartless gore-fest; not saying that I have an issue with heartless gore-fests per se, I’m just saying that some of them seem to lack the story/acting/cinematography that make for an impactful film. One film that immediately comes to mind that was ultra-successful in this genre was 2012’s American Mary.
Well, here we are in 2018 and this genre has another super film to add to its list; I’m talking about Revenge.
French millionaire Richard (Kevin Janssens) arrives at his desert home in his helicopter with American beauty Jennifer (Matlida Lutz) in tow. After they sex each other up, we learn that Richard is a married man but young Jen doesn’t seem to mind their current arrangement. The next morning Jen is getting some snacks in the kitchen when she sees two heavily armed men staring at her from outside the house and we learn that these are Richards business associates Stan (Vincent Colombe) and Dimitri (Guillaume Bouchède) who have arrived a day early for the trio’s annual hunting trip.
While Richard was at first unhappy with his friends’ early arrival as he wanted another day of alone-time with his special lady friend, he took it in stride and the foursome partied it up into the night with a drunk Jen pulling a dirty dancing routine on Stan.
The next morning Richard leaves the three alone while he goes off to take care of some business. Dimitri is passed out at the pool and Stan has nothing but Jen on his mind. As is the norm with scum like this, he claims that she was coming on to him the night before and owes him some loving…so he takes the loving against her will. During this Dimitri wakes up and looks in but chooses to ignore it.
This being a rape/revenge film as I said, I’m sure you can surmise what happens next. The great thing about this film is not what happens next but how it happens. First-time writer director Coralie Fargeat creates an almost superhero character in Jennifer; a fierce warrior of a woman who is full of an unquenchable desire to exact revenge and who will stop at nothing. Matlida Lutz pulls an incredible, and wholly believable, 180 degree turn from what seemed to be a “damsel in distress” character to an unstoppable force of pure mayhem.
Oh, and when I said earlier that most of these films become “heartless gore-fests”? Well, Revenge is a “heartfull gore-fest” because there is certainly no shortage of blood and guts here but there is a lot of heart. Great writing, directing, camera work and acting make this French film a film a must-see; just please try to see it on an empty stomach.
Stay gory my friends.