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By James Whittington, Sunday 3rd May 2020 Revenge Second Sight Films Certificate 18
Over the years there have been many "revenge" themed movies, a lot of which used uncomfortable and challenging set-ups to grasp their audiences. One only must think of the grindhouse films such as I Spit on Your Grave (1978), Last House on the Left (1972) and Death Wish (1974) to see what I am getting at here. There is a fine line between art and exploitation, and these challenged the censor to the limits.
Revenge, which is just about to hit Blu-ray contains a similar premise, assault is the major plot point here as a young girl is brutally attacked and victimised, but the stylish way it is filmed and played, you see it rise above the others I've mentioned.
Entitled CEO Richard (Kevin Janssens) is on a romantic getaway with his young mistress Jen (Matilda Lutz) is interrupted when his sleazy associates Stan (Vincent Colombe) and Dimitri (Guillaume Bouchede) arrive early for the businessmen's annual hunting trip. Their leering advances turn ugly, culminating in a brutal attack where Jen is left for dead in the desert. Like a phoenix from the ashes, Jen rises, and now she is out for revenge.
Written and directed by Coralie Fargeat, Revenge is a beautifully shot movie that initially allows the mind to create some of the horror before going out into a blood-drenched final reel. Jen, played magnificently by Matilda Lutz, is a girl trapped in a dreamy world of excess and money. Blinded by both she fails to notice a darker side to her lover, who is played to nasty perfection by Kevin Janssens.
The assault sequence is delicately shot, never glorifying or leering on such an horrific situation, and mercifully only lasts a few seconds. Vincent Colombe who plays main attacker, Stan, is so creepy and unpredictable you wince when he enters Jen's bedroom. You know what he's up to, you know what's going to take place and the tension between the two is almost too much to handle.
The film focuses on the aftermath in much more detail, when Jen comes back to life, she is a focused woman, who sets out on a grim mission of trying to right a brutal wrong. Using the sparse and hot location of a sun drenched and dusty canyon, you can feel the dread in every frame. The cinematography from Robrecht Heyvaert is stunning and in this HD transfer captures incredible detail.
The sequences are bloody, gory and violent with Robin Coudert's score underling all the horror and violence perfectly.
Coralie Fargeat has proven herself to be a major talent and no matter what genre she tries next, it will be essential viewing.
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