Rape Revenge movies. Do
we need them? From I Spit On Your Grave 1 through 4 to Big Driver to Bound to
Vengeance, they seem to be here to stay – and they all have one thing in
common. Even straight up revenge films with female leads – Eye for an Eye, The Last
House on the Left and The Brave One
– have the same common denominator. Male directors. A male telling a female how
to feel when she is being raped, abused, beaten and harassed. It doesn’t seem
right. A recent online poll suggests that 81%
(more than 3 out of 4) of women have experienced some form of sexual harassment,
so its likely that any actress in such a role has experienced some form of
sexual harassment. It would be like telling a holocaust survivor how to act in
a movie about WWII. It just isn’t appropriate. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe there are
heaps directed by women, and I just can’t find them.
Fargeat has done wonders with Revenge.
It is a great film by all accounts – but I will get to that later. I want to
make one more point. In all the films I’ve seen with a rape scene, they all
show it, explicitly. Close ups on crotches, thrusts, bound hands and bloodied
bodies. Why? Are we men really that depraved? Realistically one only needs to
read about the controversy surrounding Last Tango in Paristo answer that question.
Back to Revenge. It’s a simple film with a basic
plot. Jen (Matilda Lutz) goes away with her lover Richard (Kevin Janssens) to a
rural desert getaway a few days before Richard’s mates are scheduled to arrive
and go on their annual hunt. However, Stan (Vincent Colombe) and Dimitri (Guillaume
Bouchède) rock up
early and spoil the party – by having a party. After a night of heavy drinking,
Richard heads off to run some errands, leaving Jen alone with Stan and Dimitri.
Stan thinks he deserves more than the quick lap dance he got the night before
amidst a heap of vodkas and decides to take it. He rapes Jen without a second
thought while Dimitri swims laps of the pool to help cure his hangover. After
Richard gets back, he tries to fix the situation by giving Jen a sum of money
and shipping her off – angry at Richard’s classy get-over-it attitude, Jen runs
away. The trio of wealthy married men decide to continue on with the hunt but
with a different prey in mind. But Jen doesn’t want to give up and from there
you get an idea of what goes on.
Revenge isn’t all that different from other films of this nature – where
the girl survives her initial torment and fights back. It’s a basic format that
makes for good entertainment – although after watching Revenge I now know that the rape scene does not need to be a part
of the film. What differs in this film is the quality of the screenplay from
Fargeat. It is excellently written. After the rape, Richard tells Jen “it’s
hard to resist you”, like some sort of excuse for Stan’s sexual appetite. It rings true to what we hear after a rape in
the real world – what was she wearing? She was asking for it! Lines that are
heard so often in such instances. Even at the end Richard is still so up
himself that it is cringe worthy but still so realistic.
The male ego – will it
Fargeat’s direction is crisp.
Notably, the extreme close-ups of almost seemingly random things. Dimitris
mouth while chewing on junk food, an ant struggling to escape dripping blood –
while so simple – they also were great analogies for their respective scenes.
And when there is violence it is unrelenting and unforgiving – it was excellent
– it kept me on my toes. It kept me shocked, unable to look away.
The performances were above
your average low budget revenge film. Matilda Lutz was great as the ignorant
and fun-loving Jen. She was joyous but oh so vulnerable without ever realising
it, making her turn as a revenge seeking survivalist really turn your head.
Colombe and Bouchède as Stan and Dimitri are also great as the creepy friends.
Colombe’s Stan especially is so desperate for attention from Jen that it is
almost sickening, but again, so realistic.
And Kevin Janssens is
great as Richard. The alpha male. The leader of the pack. Solving problems and
shouting orders like any ‘great’ man would do – only to find that he doesn’t
help himself in any way, shape or form throughout the film. In fact, like in
many situations where an alpha male takes the reigns – he ignores advice from
his betas, that would have helped, a lot. And his confidence is second to none
– while never fully having the upper hand at any moment during the film he
berates Jen – after all her efforts in surviving, her grit and determination
mean nothing to him. “Women always have to put up a fucking fight” he says.
Such a perfect line in terms of women social status in the world today. Much
like people of colour, women are also still fighting to have themselves heard
and to get what from middle-aged wealthy white men? The same attitude Richard
Keep an ear out for the
cool 80’s electro sound track too, Robin Coudert gets an A+ plus here. It made
the film noticeably more enjoyable which for me is a rarity when it comes to
the soundtrack. The other part of the film that is crazy and worth noting is
the fake blood slip and slide toward the end of the film. It’s so hectic and
ridiculous but oh so pleasurable.
Director: Coralie Fargeat Cast: Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz, Kevin Janssens, Vincent Colombe Writer: Coralie Fargeat
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.