A lovesick ex-con. An Ukrainian prostitute. Her unctuous pimp. An eager police officer. His alienated wife. A bank robbery. An accidental shooting. Anger. Guilt. Revenge. Suspense. Deception. Sex, self-loathing, and even some hard-fought redemption. Everything about the first half of this Austrian film, directed with empathy and precision by Götz Spielmann, is undermined by everything that doesn’t happen in the second, and that’s what makes it so damn good (and so fucking scary). As Roger Ebert has written, “Rare is the thriller that is more about the reasons of people instead of the needs of the plot.” Indeed, this is truly a compelling and moving psychological character-study (I’ll even go so far as to describe it as Dostoevskian). I was moved to tears on more than one occasion; there is a scene toward the end, for example, when one character tosses a useless object into a lake just as a whoosh of wind whips across the surface of the water as if smoothing out all that has come before. Was it the luck of the moment or a carefully calibrated cinematic stunt? To be honest, I could give a shit as the moment stuck, worked it’s magic, and left me, if only for a moment, breathless. This movie deserves to be seen.

3 thoughts on “Revanche”

  1. I haven’t much to say, other than: Jeff is right. Good movie. It seemed to map a certain set of noir conventions but then burrowed into the characters, throwing off expectations in lovely, suspenseful ways.

  2. Finally saw this, and it kept my attention and was very well acted. But the vile pimp / bank robbery / frustrated wife / Russian prostitute stuff still came across as a little cliche.

    It’s really good, but I wish it had more to work with than the worn-down territory that it’s covering.

    Except for wood-cutting. I have to say that if you like a movie that gives you a wide variety of wood-cutting and nice long takes of logs, then this movie should be high on your list. This might be the Citizen Kane of wood-cutting movies.

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