Transforming from an urban neo-noir to a village morality play and a bedroom character study

REVIEW In the sex industry of Vienna, small-time criminal Alex (Johannes Krisch) has dreams of escape for himself and his Ukrainian prostitute girlfriend, Tamara (Irina Potapenko). With a ski mask and an unloaded pistol, the miscreant schlemiel allows Tamara to accompany him during the commission of a robbery, and disastrous consequences ultimately transpire. After Alex and Tamara cross paths with young policeman Robert (Andreas Lust), his seemingly idyllic small-town life is also upended by the confrontation. Robert's wife, Susanne (Ursula Strauss) fails to hearten her inconsolable husband. Instead, she finds her only comfort visiting a neighbor, Hausner (Johannes Thanheiser). But this tale of city-to-country anomie transforms into a gripping revenge play when Alex (who is, we learn, also Hausner's grandson) suddenly appears in the town, seeking bloody satisfaction. Transforming from an urban neo-noir to a village morality play and a bedroom character study, Götz Spielmann's Revanche (in French, the act of revenge) confronts the fundamental existential conundrum — fate's random selection of its prey, or, as the film's tag-line asks, "Whose Fault Is It When Life Doesn't Go Your Way?"

REVANCHE opens Fri/5 in Bay Area theaters.


Pixel Vision blog: An extended version of this review.

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