Revanche

"Excellent"

Revanche Review


More character study than thriller (the title means "revenge"), this slow-burning Austrian film effectively holds our interest with its unpredictable plot, even though it's not easy to care where it's going.

Tamara (Potapenko) is a Ukrainian prostitute in Vienna whose out-of-hours lover Alex (Krisch) is a low-level gangster who's too nice to be a proper thug. But he tries to up his game and release her from her pimp's clutches, plotting a bank robbery while boldly saying that "nothing can go wrong". And after things go badly wrong, he finds out that the pursuing cop (Lust) and his wife (Strauss) live in the same village as his grandfather (Thanheiser). And his life gets even more complicated.

Reminiscent of Haneke (the stark camera work) and Seidl (the stark themes), the film also feels rather disturbingly voyeuristic as it exposes the naked bodies of these desperate prostitutes on screen. As a director, Spielmann continually suggests that something nasty is around the next corner; well of course it is, and the film is so coolly observant that we are never able to properly connection with these outsiders and loners. Although the ways the characters are interlinked has the haunting impact of a literary novel.

These intricate relationships between the characters are portrayed with unusual understatement. Perhaps Spielmann's main point is that connections between people are sometimes utterly random, sometimes fated by circumstances and sometimes so powerful that they can derail our lives completely. And while the plot moves very slowly, the robbery sequence is a true heartstopper that irrevocably twists everything that follows.

At the centre of the story, Krisch is a terrific presence, physically inhabiting the role in a way that keeps us completely gripped. We can see what he's feeling, but not what he might do next. In his performance, Alex's dark sense of humour takes on a sinister tone, not because he's a bad guy but because he simply doesn't realise that his actions could have horribly unexpected repercussions for those around him. Rather than a revenge tale, this is a film about how being vengeful eats you up inside. And so does guilt over something you didn't mean to do.



Revanche

Facts and Figures

Genre: Foreign

Run time: 121 mins

In Theaters: Friday 16th May 2008

Distributed by: Janus Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
Fresh: 79 Rotten: 3

IMDB: 7.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Gotz Spielmann

Producer: Sandra Bohle, Mathias Forberg, Gotz Spielmann, Heinz Stussak

Starring: Johannes Krisch as Alex, Irina Potapenko as Tamara, Michael-Joachim Heiss as Tagportier, Andreas Lust as Robert, Hanno Pöschl as Konecny, Ursula Strauss as Susanne, Johannes Thanheiser as Der Alte

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