Revenge (2017 film)
French theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Coralie Fargeat|
|Written by||Coralie Fargeat|
|Distributed by||Rézo Films|
Revenge is a 2017 French rape and revenge action horror film written and directed by Coralie Fargeat, and starring Matilda Lutz, Kevin Janssens, Vincent Colombe and Guillaume Bouchède. The plot follows a young woman who is assaulted and left for dead in the desert by three men, where she recovers and seeks vengeance upon her attackers.
It screened in the Midnight Madness section of the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, in the Midnight Shivers programme of the 21st Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival (PÖFF) and in the Midnight Premieres programme of the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. The film was given a limited release in the United States by Neon on May 11, 2018, where it received a positive response from film critics.
Jennifer (dubbed "Jen") is an American socialite who is in a secret relationship with her married neighbor Richard. The two fly out to Richard's secluded home in the middle of the desert for a weekend together before his annual hunting trip with friends Stan and Dimitri; Richard's helicopter pilot gives him some peyote as a gift before he departs. However, Stan and Dimitri arrive a day early, disappointing Richard, who was hoping to keep Jen a secret. While the three men and Jen have a fun night of drinking and dancing, Richard tells Jen to hide the peyote from Stan and Dmitri; she conceals it in her necklace.
The next morning, while Richard is away, Stan tries to get Jen to have sex with him, claiming she had come on to him the night before. When she refuses, he rapes her. Dimitri sees the rape occur but chooses to actively ignore it. Richard returns, berates Stan, and offers Jen a large sum of money to forget about the incident. When Richard refuses to send Jen home and she threatens to reveal the nature of their relationship to Richard's wife, he slaps her and she runs off into the desert while the three men give chase, ending at a dead-end cliff. Richard pretends to call his pilot to take Jen home and instead pushes her off a cliff, where she is impaled on a tree during the fall. She falls unconscious and is left for dead by the three men, who promise to return later and retrieve her body and then continue their hunting trip as if nothing had happened.
Jen wakes up and uses her lighter to set the tree she is impaled on fire, causing it to break and allowing her to make her escape with a branch still stuck through her body. She wanders through the desert, trying to avoid the three men, who have since realized that she's escaped and have split up to search. Jen encounters Dimitri urinating in a river and attempts to shoot him with his own shotgun, but it is not loaded. Dimitri gains the upper hand and tries to drown Jen, but she takes his hunting knife and stabs both of his eyes. He bleeds out in the river as Jen takes his supplies.
Jen hides in a cave and uses the peyote to numb herself before removing the branch and cauterizing the wound with an aluminum beer can, branding herself with the beer's phoenix logo. After a series of nightmares of the men hunting her, Jen sets out to find them first. After Richard and Stan discover and dispose of Dimitri's body, Richard orders Stan to track Jen down in his SUV. Stan runs out of gas while in Jen's sights, and Jen shoots him in the shoulder while he attempts to refill the tank. Jen and Stan engage in a gunfight, in which Stan blows Jen's earlobe off with a rifle and Jen tricks Stan into stepping on a large piece of broken glass. After removing the glass from his foot, Stan tries to run Jen down with the SUV. However, Jen kills him with Dimitri's shotgun and takes the car for herself.
Richard returns to the house, calls the helicopter, and takes a shower, but hears a noise and searches the property for Jen. She finds him once he's given up and shoots him in the stomach. The two chase each other around the house with shotguns, and Richard knocks Jen out with his shotgun. He tries to strangle her, but she shoves her hand in his stomach wound, forcing him to drop her. Jen recovers her shotgun and shoots Richard in the chest, killing him. A bloodied but triumphant Jen walks out of the house and turns around as she hears the helicopter approach.
- Matilda Lutz as Jen
- Kevin Janssens as Richard
- Vincent Colombe as Stan
- Guillaume Bouchède as Dimitri
- Jean-Louis Tribes as Roberto
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The film had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on 11 September 2017. Prior to that, Shudder acquired distribution rights to the film. It was later revealed Neon would distribute the film theatrically in the United States, before its release on Shudder.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 93% based on 96 reviews, and an average rating of 7.4/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Revenge slices and dices genre tropes, working within an exploitation framework while adding a timely – yet never less than viscerally thrilling – feminist spin." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 81 out of 100, based on 23 critics.
A.O. Scott of The New York Times said, "Blunt, bloody and stylish almost in spite of itself, Revenge is a synthesis of exploitation and feminism." Kevin Maher of The Times provides a more negative review: "Labelled a 'feminist rape-revenge movie', it takes all the traditional tenets of that most dubious of genres and simply does them again."
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- Scott, A.O. (9 May 2018). "Review: In 'Revenge,' the Trophy Turns Hunter". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
- Maher, Kevin (11 May 2018). "Film review: Revenge". The Times. Retrieved 21 May 2018.