Chicago Critics Film Festival 2018: Revenge
By Andrea Thompson
Whenever I watch French cinema, I've always marveled at its ability to (supposedly) empower and objectify women at the same time. And the bloody “Revenge” continues this tradition, although it breaks the mold more than most, since a woman Coralie Fargeat, both wrote and directed. At the beginning, Jen's (Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz) place in the narrative seems clear. She's an astoundingly beautiful blonde sucking on a lollipop, the mistress of the handsome, wealthy Richard (Kevin Janssens, who is objectified nearly as much as she is). When Richard's two friends unexpectedly join them at their remote desert getaway, things quickly get violent, as Jen is forced to flee, then fight for her life against the men who have become her would-be assassins. Vengeance may be sweet, but the road there isn't; you'll need a strong stomach to handle the bloody injuries heroine and villians alike accrue. Lutz fearlessly embodies Jen's transformation into a feminist avenging angel, who somehow remains sexy even after she's covered in blood and dirt. Even its plot holes and inconsistencies cease to become much of a point. “Revenge” is just that satisfying to watch as Fargeat uses genre staples and gender expectations to give us a gruesomely satisfying thrill ride.