Dozens of action films are released in multiplexes every year, yet very few are able to make the impact that Coralie Fargeat does with her debut feature Revenge. Soaked with eye-popping stylistic flourishes and featuring more brains than your average actioner, the film easily ranks among the year’s best accomplishments.
Revenge is about…well you guessed it, revenge. Specifically, we follow Jen, a mistress who is enjoying a vacation with the man she is seeing. When two of his hunting buddies arrive, things get out of hand, leaving Jen in a desperate fight for survival against her former lover.
For a first-time director, Coralie Fargeat proves to be well-beyond her years with such an electric and confident debut. The film’s colorized visual style pops in every frame, with Fargeat filling the screen with several inventive stylistic flourishes that effectively ratchet up the tension. Fargeat makes several familiar action ideas feel fresh, such as a desperate chase scene that focuses more so on the exhaustion of each character rather than their desperate chase. The action is certainly over-glorified, with buckets of bloodshed being poured at the expense of Jen’s foes.
Nothing is superfluous however, with each added touch also serving the film’s more substantive core. Unlike a lot of films with stylized action, Fargeat is still able to explore the very real-world consequences that come along with each strike. The pain and desperation behind Jen’s revenge makes it a lot more than just mindless entertainment, and there are several ways people can interpret the movie’s themes.
The performances also elevate the film tremendously. Matilda Lutz is terrific as Jen, making a significant impact even though there isn’t a lot of dialogue. Lutz perfectly nails the balance between strength and vulnerability. She isn’t really an action hero, but she’s rather a fully-realized person, something that is frankly much preferred.
I sadly had to watch Revenge via VOD, but I implore anyone who has the opportunity to see this film in the theater. It’s an equally bold and impactful film that leaves a lingering lasting impression.