Rating – ★★★½
Matilda Lutz stars as Jen, an attractive woman who finds herself in an affair with the incredibly wealthy, and married Richard (played by Kevin Janssens). The film starts with the two living a life of luxury, seemingly far from anything else somewhere in the middle of the desert. A peaceful getaway for the pair gets interrupted when two of Richard’s friends, Stan and Dimitri (Vincent Colombe and Guillaume Bouchède) show up early for a scheduled hunting trip. The two men instantly fall for Jens beauty, putting her in an uncomfortable and eventually nightmarish situation. Stan, taking the opportunity of Richards brief vacancy, has a moment of unsolicited pleasure, making Jen a victim of rape. Upon his return, Richard is told of the gross act but instead of comforting his mistress, he has her thrown off of a cliff edge. Thinking their problems are over, the men later return to check on the deceased body only to find it not there… what follows is brutal revenge.
Set in its title alone, you kind of have a sense of where this film was going, but its execution was certainly a surprise. With a budget of only around $2 million and a cast list consisting of 5 people it’s amazing what this film manages to achieve. Full feature-length debut director Coraline Fargeat, approaches this film with sheer professionalism and a clear passion for her craft. Revenge is a delishiously vibrant visual feast boasting not only an eyewatering colour palette, but beautiful set pieces and more butt shots than you would likely see from a Baywatch marathon.
Fortunately, the positives don’t end with it’s visual appearance alone. Revenge is blunt, bold and bloody. The pay off, is certainly in its final act and well worth it. With a clever and well sequenced long tracking shot followed by a mesmerising final showdown, it brings Jen’s vicious acts of redemption to a jaw-dropping epic conclusion. Where its story is simple and not unlike anything we’ve seen before within the sub genre, Fargeat manages to bring something somewhat refreshing and new to her direction.
Unsettling, nasty and during some moments hard to stomach, Revenge’s use of extreme brutality showcases a fine display of horrendous violence that in a way, becomes bizarrely beautiful and stylistic. With such a strong debut, you can already see the huge potential for success in Fargeat’s future.