Reviewed by: Harvey Karten
Director: Coralie Fargeat
Screenwriter: Coralie Fargeat
Cast: Matilda Lutz, Kevin Janssens, Vincent Colombe, Guillaume Bouchede, Jean-Louis Tribes
Screened at: Critics’ link, NYC, 4/27/18
Opens: May 11, 2018
Women in the developed world are as free as men to say whatever they want. But that doesn’t mean it’s wise to say just anything that comes to mind. For example, if a woman criticizes a man’s size, that could be a conversation-stopper, but it could be more than that. And if a woman tells a man that he’s not her type, that’s not a diplomatic thing to say. In “Revenge,” Coralie Fargeat unfolds a tale in which a beautiful French socialite—and I mean beautiful that way Brigette Bardot was in “And God Created Woman”—tells a gentleman to whom she played up the night before but now telling him that “You’re not my type.” She follows up with “you’re small: I like tall guys.” Such a rebuff can lead to no good end. Nor should a woman verbally threatened to tell a French millionaire that she is going to reveal all to his wife.
Coralie Fargeat, whose “Reality +” imagines a chip that would make you see yourself with a perfect physique while letting others see you in this new way, now helms her first full-length feature that similarly involves two people with perfect bodies untouched by pills. Their gorgeous physiques, which obviously would allow them to enjoy more of life than most of the rest of us, plays havoc. Blood is shed; more blood than any human body contains. There are chases, there are telescopic rifles, there are cliffs (probably located in Morocco where much of “Revenge” is filmed) which make handy places for an insulted guy to take revenge for being not somebody’s type.
The revenge in this story does not belong to the men, however, but rather to Jen (Matilda Lutz), an American sex kitten seen debarking from a helicopter after having shared considerable passion with Richard (Kevin Janssens), a French multi-millionaire
on a hunting trip together with Jen. They are met in a gorgeous desert home by his two pals Stan (Vincent Colombe) and Bouchede (Guillaume Bouchede). When Jen does provocative dancing, first with Richard, then with Stan, Stan is turned on, but the next morning, when Richard takes a few hours off to see about hunting licenses, the rebuffed Stan rapes her while his portly friend Dimitri looks on, crunching a chocolate bar seen in close-up under Robrecht Heyvaert’s lens.
There’s not much of a plot, but you don’t need a subtle story line for a movie that depends on visuals, and you can see some mighty fine visuals looking at Jen, and for those who prefer, some nude scenes involving the muscular Richard as well. The bloody vistas are inventive. Think of being pushed from a cliff and surviving because you get stuck on a tree limb that penetrates your body. How about feasting your eyes on a woman who climbs out, pulls the tree limb from her body with the help of a peyote substance that not only dulls pain but makes her into a Wonder Woman? Best of all, the cauterization scene is the one to see for drop-dead inventiveness
All in all a bloody good time. French and English with English subtitles.
Unrated. 108 minutes. © 2018 by Harvey Karten, Member, New York Film Critics Online
Story – C+
Acting – B
Technical – B+
Overall – B