Revanche (18)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner29/04/2010

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 121 mins

Impressively directed and superbly written, this is a slow-burning Austrian drama that exerts a powerful emotional grip thanks to terrific performances from Johannes Krisch and Ursula Strauss.

What's it all about?
Written and directed by Gotz Spielmann, Revanche (translation: 'Revenge') is set in Austria and stars Johannes Krisch as Alex, a small-time crook who works at a brothel and is having a secret relationship with Tamara (Irina Potapenko), one of the prostitutes he's supposed to look after. When Tamara's sleazy boss tries to set her up in an apartment so she can service wealthy clients, Alex decides to rob a bank so they can run away together, but the bank robbery goes horribly wrong and Alex is forced to hide out at his grandfather's (Hannes Thanheiser) remote village farm.

However, things get complicated when Alex realises that Susanne (Ursula Strauss), a friendly woman who frequently visits his grandfather, is actually married to Robert (Andreas Lust), the policeman responsible for his current situation. But as Alex plots revenge against Robert, his relationship with Susanne takes an unexpected turn.

The Good
Revanche was deservedly nominated for Best Foreign Film at last year's Oscars. Johannes Krisch (who looks an awful lot like Robert Carlyle) is terrific as Alex, his irritating cocky bravado (for example, sticking a gun in Tamara's face for a joke) in the first half giving way to an emotionally gripping haunted quality in the second, where you never know whether he's going to lash out in violence or break down in tears.

There's also terrific support from both Irina Potapenko and Andreas Lust, while Ursula Strauss is excellent as Susanne, the film's most surprising character (her unexpected reaction in the scene where Alex tries to get her to stop visiting his grandfather is just one of several great moments in the film).

The Great
Spielmann's direction is extremely assured throughout, particularly in the second half of the film, where several scenes are simultaneously unbearably suspenseful and powerfully emotional. The script is superb too, particularly in the way in which the two men are drawn together, one consumed with grief, the other consumed with revenge; their eventual confrontation is both gripping and heartbreaking at the same time.

Worth seeing?
Revanche is an extremely well made film that exerts a powerful emotional grip, thanks to a strong script, assured direction and terrific performances. Highly recommended.

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Content updated: 24/09/2018 10:43

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