JEN IS a young American socialite brought by her married lover, Richard, for a weekend away in a desert villa. When Richard's friends turn up early - the day before she’s supposed to leave - things start to go wrong for Jen.
After a night of partying she is raped by one of Richards' friends. Instead of helping her, Richard attempts to kill her. Jen survives her attempted murder and vows revenge. First time French director Coralie Fargeat leaves a real impression. This movie is spectacularly violent, is almost like a music video, and feels slightly supernatural at times.
Her use of colour is like a comic book - blue skies, red blood and yellow sand pop like it they from an Instagram account in 2012 when people did not know how to use filters. Revenge has been compared to Kill Bill, but for this reviewer it echoes Harmony Korine's Disney princesses turn gang bangers 2012 epic Spring Breakers.
Matilda Lutz, who plays Jen, is a great lead, with the look of an Instagram model. By the end of the movie she is in a bikini covered in blood with a knife on her belt and an impossibly large rifle on her shoulder - imagine Sarah Conner from Terminator 2 if she was sponsored by #gymshark. She is insanely charismatic and I expect we will be seeing a lot of her in the future.
The crudely named genre 'rape and revenge' is an old trope, but there has not been an interesting spin on it in decades. The so-called classics of the genre, I Spit On Your Grave and Last House On The Left, are honestly sexist, stupid, and offensive. That said, there have been some interesting additions to the genre. Tom Ford's Nocturnal Animals played with some of the themes, and while not always successfully, it was an interesting film.
Having a female director here does add something. The first shot of Revenge is quite literally the male gaze. We first see Jen through a reflection in Richard's aviators. It’s cracking opening shot of what is sure to be a long career. She objectifies the Patrick Bateman-esque villain Richard just as much as she does Jen. In fact, there is more male nudity than female. By the end of the film I felt like everyone had been suitably exploited. Including my stomach.