REVENGE (108 R)
Never take your mistress on an annual guys’ getaway, especially one devoted to hunting – a violent lesson for three wealthy married men.
Director: Coralie Fargeat
Writer: Coralie Fargeat
Stars: Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz, Kevin Janssens, Vincent Colombe
Subtitled in English
Revenge, an aggressively stylized, absolutely brutal rape-revenge film from French newcomer Coralie Fargeat. Taking place in an unnamed location with paper-thin characters—all we know about the heroine is that she’s from L.A.—this film is all about the thrill of the chase. Matilda Lutz stars as Jen, a nubile young woman who, as the film opens, pulls up in a helicopter for a dirty weekend with her handsome older lover Richard (Kevin Janssens) at Richard’s fashionable desert retreat. (Think shag carpeting and a neon pop-art portrait of the Virgin Mary.) It’s never revealed exactly what Richard does for a living, but it’s presumably something illicit. He certainly reveals himself to be a monstrous character when he betrays Jen by pushing her off a cliff after she’s raped by one of his associates.
At first, Revenge seems to be doing a Psycho-style reversal by killing off Jen, but soon she rises, seemingly from the grave, to enact her extremely bloody revenge. The film works best if you approach it as a fantasy, with Jen as a near-supernatural angel of vengeance; otherwise, it’s easy to get hung up on the inconsistencies as the action grows increasingly over-the-top. That is, when you’re not watching through your fingers: The level of blood splatter, bodily mutilation, and exploding heads in this film is on the level of New French Extremity titles like Inside and High Tension, making Revenge as much of a horror movie as an action one. (Think taking peyote as an anesthetic before performing self-surgery with a beer can and a rusty knife.)
– Katie Rife, AV Club