Revanche - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Revanche Reviews

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½ June 17, 2013
"Revanche," Austria's 2009 nominee for the Best Foreign Language Film, is a structured, yet unpredictable psychological thriller. What starts out as a slightly off- putting investigation of human amorality, becomes a galvanizing psychological thriller worthy of repeat viewings. Writer/director Götz Spielmann reveals himself to the cinematic community and movie goers to be a fantastic storyteller, and a master of his craft.

"Revanche" is a slow, methodical film, much like its lead character Alex (Johannes Krisch), who decides to rob a bank with his girlfriend, Tamara (Irina Poapenko). Tamara wants out for the prostitution business and away from her pimp, Konecy (Hanno Poschl), and Alex is riddled in debt and works in Konecy's brothel as a bodyguard. He doesn't like seeing Koncey makes the moves on his women. Despite Alex's plan, the robbery goes wrong, and when speeding away from the scene, police officer Robert (Andreas Lust), shoots--aiming for the tires, but instead kills Tamara.

Tamara emerges as more intelligently connected to reality than her lover, the brothel tough guy, Alex. He is all sternness and hard talk - yet the surface hardness is just weak rebellion against his essential humanity. Later in the film, the police officer, Robert and his wife are introduced. Ursula Strauss, as the wife, gives a brilliant portrait of a woman whose practiced glibness is simply a smoke screen--disguising her dark impulses and emotions. The retaliations between these people develop subtly and indirectly, rather than any sort of bang-bang climax. Characters are intimately observed; their actions frequently say volumes more than their words. Eventually some characters come to know how everyone fits into this giant puzzle. The movie completely shifts gears when Robert and Alex meet. Only one of them knows the whole situation. Their meeting completely alters the course of the film.

Though his screenplay is sparse in dialogue, Spielmann directs his actors to rich performances. Explorations of loneliness and the nature of coincidence are camouflaged by a surprisingly cohesive narrative that features realistic and often unnerving character interactions. Much is asked of these actors, given that their characters are often unflattering, weak, and entirely human. These people find their lives intersecting without them knowing it. In "Revanche," which translates as "revenge" in English, the evolving situation becomes more morally complex.

"Revanche" means to move at a slower pace, allowing contemplation for the audience- -though it could have used a bit more "punch" at times to liven things up. Throughout the film, Spielmann remains in tight control of his story, creating moments of suspense, shifting dynamics on a dime, and presenting us with reversals of expectations, that seem, in retrospect, inevitable.
½ May 8, 2013
An impeccable setup let down by plodding scenes of chopping wood and in your face symbolism, Revanche hits hard in the first act but gives up for the remainer.
April 10, 2013
Spellbinding. Just don't expect a thriller.
April 6, 2013
A bit artsy at times--holding scenes longer than usual, outdoor pans of lovely scenery. If it had been an American film it would have lacked credulity but somehow more nuanced because it's European? Probably not but I bought it. I liked its subtletry and pathos and how the charactars become trapped by their own secrets and needs and wind up in an incredibly complex web of mutual Insanity with each playing a role he or she would never have thought possible.
March 28, 2013
exceptional direction and editing - paced and shot perfectly; The doorway motif and the "one shot/one scene" approach convey the trapped and fleeing emotional pull - reminds me of classic Japanese style. Everything i s deliberate and calculated. a great dichotomy of the chaos of the main characters beginnings.
½ March 17, 2013
clever script + a well done film, gratifying watch!
this was one of 'em quiet little gems; no flash, no splash, just a story well executed and told.
another one up for european cinema.
January 9, 2013
There are a lots of films that have dealt with the topic of revenge in recent years but I'm not sure I've ever seen it done quite like this. This isn't a Mel Gibson or Bruce Willis revenge flick. This is a simple and emotional part thriller part psychological drama, something that many films of the same ilk do not have. It's also a strikingly shot film, as beautiful cinematography makes this slow burning morality tale into quite a character study. The relationships between all of the characters are well carved and executed in a naturalistic way. The film that takes the main character and have him perform routine chores, like chopping wood, with incredibly long takes and no dialogue, just the inner workings of the character and the images in the frame, but still it makes them feel so important. This is wonderfully executed, and I found myself so fascinated that the running time felt much shorter than it was, despite the slow pacing. My only gripe with this one is the absence of a score. A musical score in the right mood could make the images much more powerful. Still, I highly recommend Revanche to anyone who can appreciate a slow burn film like this as a counter to the standard Hollywood revenge films. This is bold filmmaking that will resonate with you long after it's over.
December 19, 2012
Under the superb direction of Götz Spielmann, Revanche successfully tells the story of two people who's lives take a whole different direction when they meet in a tragic accident. This film doesn't have room for clichés, but also it's not full of surprises. This is a good thing, because what it is trying to depict is human nature towards grief and revenge. If you ask yourself during the film "What would I've done if I were him/her?" I bet you would do exactly as the screenplay dictates, cause it is all made out of human instincts.
The setting is so incredibly calm and empty as the characters inhabiting it, there's an amazing connection between the characters feelings and the setting (a rural area). Subtleness is the word I would prefer to use to describe this masterpiece of suspense.
(As time passes by, my curiosity awakens more about why the hell did Departures took the prize that night having films like Waltz with Bashir, Revanche and The Class competing in the same category).
November 4, 2012
I am going to pass on this one.
½ September 25, 2012
Liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiike it !
September 8, 2012
Starts better than it ends almost like two different movies suspension at first turned into a family drama/ character study.
July 21, 2012
"Revanche" is a very well Crafted and violent drama which focus on forgiveness guilt and redemption .trough many incidents the life of the main characters will cross the same path and result toward the end into a smart and powerful climax. Although the story is not that amazing and surprising its realization editing cinematography storytelling acting and writing are excellent,making it a compelling story to follow .furthermore the story adds to these strengths a kind of christian religious tone which is quiet interesting -through the many signs the astute viewer will notice in the image and the dialogue- and which makes the all material deeper . Nevertheless few errors can be noticed .First ,the movie takes too long to start.the step up is over one hour long and though it is interesting and very well made, it doesn't link concretely directly the second part of the story except at toward very end .In fact There is this real impression that two different films are going on and that one is too long has very few connection to the other and even more to the general matter of the all story.This definitely doesn't add to the quality of the movie which could have been otherwise an excellent film or a small masterpiece considering the quality of the realization and story telling.furthermore the story of the four principal character are not portrayed equally at first which is misleading.Also to add more ,some erotic sexual scene at the very beginning between the two lovers are clearly unadapted and non necessary .This annoying scene bored and doesn't bring much to the story itself(seeing people make love is not what i call cinema).In fact it even stops the flow of the movie giving the viewers the unexpected impression to watch an erotic film more than a skillfully made drama(this becomes especially true when you add the number of irrelevant breast scene seen throughout the movie).
Anyway "revanche" still remains a good watch and a movie made with an undeniable talent many should visit if they are ready to withstand some unnecessary graphic sexual scenes. and over popping breast. Its story is great and and the question it raises through apparently immoral situation will probably convince the audience of its quality by its response and please most people watching it,especialy the cinema lovers outhere.The director of "revanche" is definitely one the audience and critics should follow .
½ July 14, 2012
A subtle, yet excellent drama about man dealing with the loss of his love & then his struggle with revenge/forgiveness.
July 6, 2012
As the plot unfolds, it constructs a parable of crime and punishment, redemption and revenge.
½ June 4, 2012
probably 5 stars after a good cry
May 31, 2012
Writer-director Götz Spielmann's spare, elegant film begins with a splash in a pond, causing ripples to spread across the water. Similarly, petty criminal Alex (Johannes Krisch) and his lover Tamara (Irina Potapenko) commit a robbery, but the effect of their actions are broader reaching than either could predict. The elements of the story are the ingredients of a thriller, but Spielmann locks the camera down and adds no score. The result is still compelling, but the nuanced staging, photography and strong performances make it something more than the sum of its parts. A strong narrative current leads to the abyss of retaliation, but manages the rare feat of escaping both nihilism and sentimentality.
April 18, 2012
Fuck the Dark Knight, this was the best tale of revenge, loss, and hope made in the last decade.
GS
Super Reviewer
½ April 3, 2012
Excellent film, the only thing out place is the amount of breasts shown. It wasn't off-putting, but I question if it was there for shock value or if it had some symbolic/expositional purpose. Other than that, everything else is truly well done. The script is great and halfway through the film I wondered if it was too theatrical/outlandish. But Spielmann's execution and pacing makes it all work amazingly well. The performances are also great in the film, Krisch is phenomenal as Alex. This is one of the best recently released films that I've seen.
February 13, 2012
I really wanted to like Revanche. If you like the films of Michael Haneke - Austrian, Leave the Camera Running scenes, stories that seem to be building towards something but end up going nowhere - you may like this. Remove the mystery and make the story simpler and more coherent and you have this film, a character study (not a thriller as described) about an ex-con that enjoys chopping wood. It could've easily been shortened by thirty minutes and none of the message would be lost. The story is incredibly simple, predictable, and drawn out, and the writing is lacking and requires characters to be incompetent. The director, Gotz Spielmann, does treat the audience as intelligent, it looks gorgeous, and there are moments of introspection. But I could never sit through it again. If you're not a fan of the style but decide to keep watching to see what it's all building to, do yourself a favor and stop watching. It's shocking this was nominated for Best Foreign Film when films that clearly inspired Revanche such as Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance get mixed critical reception. Now there's a revenge drama that is slow-paced, tragic, beautifully shot, but has a complex story and interesting characters to back it up.
½ February 1, 2012
By painting the characters as realistic human beings and not as broad stereotypes that would usually appear in a typical american thriller similar to this Speilmann has created an engaging, emotional and unpredictable character study.
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