The kick in the pants that exploitation films needs. _Final rating:★★★½ - I really liked it. Would strongly recommend you give it your time._
Revenge had so much going for it. The acting was surprisingly good. The symbolism was well done. She actually looked like she'd gone through hell in the desert with dirty hair and grime. Camerawork and the setting was outstanding. Unfortunately the first conflict, which is the basis for the rest of the movie, ended up being way over the top and completely unbelievable. Not to mention the ridiculous amounts of blood everywhere. I wanted more relatable believability and less pointless gore.
**_Gory, but brilliant_** > _It was very important for Jen to be fully objectified at the beginning of the film, to show that she is at ease with her body and how she uses it, at ease with how she seduces men and attracts male attention. But what I'm trying to get across is that this is not the problem, but rather that the male characters believe that the way she looks authorises them to treat her as though she is to be used and then disposed of like a worthless piece of rubbish. The male gaze in film often implies that women are to blame for acts of sexual violence committed against them,_ _which is deeply problematic. Through each male character, I wanted to show the different abusive behaviours that, to a large extent, have become normalised in today's society._ - Coralie Fargeat; "Exclusive Interview with _Revenge_ Director Coralie Fargeat"; _Bird's Eye View_ (December 5, 2018) Jen (a superb Matilda Lutz) and her married lover Richard (Kevin Janssens) are enjoying a romantic weekend in his isolated house in the desert. However, shortly after they arrive, Richard's friends, Stan (Vincent Colombe), Dimitri (Guillaume Bouchède), and Roberto (Jean-Louis Tribes) show up unannounced, urging Richard to join them on a hunting trip. As tension mounts in the house, Stan rapes Jen, but when she says she is going to go to the police, and to alert Richard's wife of his affair, the men attack her and leave her for dead. However, unbeknownst to them, she survives the assault, and has set on revenge. Very much in the vein of films such as Sam Peckingpah's _Strawdogs_ (1971) and Meir Zarchi's _I Spit On Your Grave_ (1978), _Revenge_ is an insanely gory rape-revenge thriller. In her feature debut, writer/director Coralie Fargeat displays an astonishing visual panache as she reappropriates this exploitative sub-genre for the post #MeToo era. From the expansive Ford-esque vistas of the desert to the claustrophobic and labyrinthine finale, her visual language is as dexterous and thematically justified as one would expect from a master stylist such as Michael Mann. The film is very much about the dangers and darker implications of the male gaze, and the way Fargeat's constantly moving camera lingers on actress Matilda Lutz's half-naked body is deeply unsettling, challenging the audience to look at her in the same way the male characters do, before turning this notion on its head in the second half of the film. If you can ignore the plot contrivances, and stomach the gore, you will find a socially relevant film that is as auspicious a debut as you're likely to see all year.
SPOILER REVIEW For the first half hour or so the movie looks like being your standard revenge thriller, but then the tone of the movie takes a dramatic unexpected shift. It's at this point our protagonist, Jen, falls off a cliff and lands onto a tree below in which a branch impales her through the back and out through her midriff. After what in all seriousness should've been a fatal fall you're left thinking; "Surely she's dead, right?" I mean, I know action flicks are far fetched, but surely they aren't gonna just write this off as the equivalent to a grazed knee. Half an hour in and you've seemingly killed off the main character, hmm. Is her identical twin or ghost or something going to take revenge, you're left wondering? Even if she were somehow to miraculously survive, there's no way she'd be in any condition to take Revenge. Alas, she does survive and she finds a novel way to free herself from the tree she is impaled and suspended from. _Note: this is the part in the movie when you turn your brain off._ After bleeding out for hours in the desert heat, our heroine spots a lighter on the ground within reaching distance. Remember this part; she's in reaching distance from the ground, got that! She comes to the conclusion that the best way to free herself is to **burn the tree down.** That's right, she's going to burn the tree down of which she is impaled just feet from the ground where a fire is burning below her. Genius! Anyway, her big brained plan actually works and she manages to get down without burning herself alive. Skip ahead to where she needs to patch herself up. Next task is to fix the gaping wound running through her body. She finds a cave after acquiring some supplies and you're thinking the 'Rambo scene' must be coming up where she cauterizes the wound. Now I'm no stranger to suspending my disbelief, but what happens next defies all logic and reason. She recalls she stashed some peyote in her locket from earlier. According to her now ex-boyfriend, you can cut your own leg off no problem with this stuff and you won''t even feel it, so it'll pass for a painkiller. Instead of pouring gunpowder into her open wound and then lighting it, she decides to go the 'heated beer can route.' Not just any beer can, MEXICAN BEER - with a nifty eagle logo. After branding herself with the hot metal beer can it magically seals up her back wound also. Ah, the wonders of modern medical care. As an extra to her life saving self-surgery, she picked up a new eagle tattoo imprinted from beer can. There appears to be some witchcraft at work also, because instead of leaving a negative print (a reverse image) the eagle's logo along with its text are transferred the correct way around. You can't help but laugh out loud. This is one of many plot holes throughout the movie that are so gaping (like the one that should still be visible in Jen's back) you cannot help be drawn to them. Mirror images seem to be a theme as you'll notice later in the movie. At this time, Jen has taken on a kind of Mary Sue meets Rambo persona. She doesn't need blood, food or water to survive; or internal organs for that matter, and she has an essence of indestructibility. The film has entered a kind of dark comedy territory. We proceed in the story when she hunts down her transgressors and it turns out Jen's not the only one who can withstand near fatal damage. The Friday the 13th franchise passes more for realism at this stage in comparison and the movie more resembles an outrageous music video. In summary: Revenge is mildly entertaining if you can get past its absurdity and idiotic plot holes. Unfortunately, that's where it has to lose so many marks for me. The filmmakers treat their audience as morons and you cannot ignore so many obvious errors. That ruined the experience for me. **Verdict: 2/10**
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