Friday, September 14, 2018

Some women refuse to be thrown away

Revenge (2017)
Dir- Coralie Fargeat 

One of the most controversial subjects in horror is rape-revenge, with movies like I Spit on Your Grave and Ms.45 being some of the more infamous titles that venture into exploitation and graphic rape imagery. Films of this type were popular in the late 1970's and occupied sleazy grindhouse theaters that often kept the more mainstream fans away. French director Coralie Fargeat redefines this controversial and sometimes taboo area with her 2017 movie Revenge. Jen (Matilda Lutz) is spending a romantic weekend with her wealthy boyfriend until two of his friends show up for an unannounced hunting trip. Jen is creeped out by their leering glances and when she refuses the advances of one of the friends her world is abruptly shaken as she is assaulted sexually and left for dead after her boyfriend shows his true colors of indifference toward her. Her will to survive pushes her to seek out her own justice as she uses her skills and wits to survive in the punishing heat of the desert that she is left alone to die. Her fight for survival leads her to seek vengeance against these men, and unlike the more infamous exploitation films mentioned earlier, she does not use her sexuality to lure these men to her. Revenge is a violent and graphic film that follows the style of other French extreme films like Martyrs and Frontiers while inserting a strong sense of female power. Revenge is a film that pushes the boundaries toward exploitation yet wisely veers into a more feminist driven narrative that allows the viewer to cheer on the protagonist without having her display the level of depravity that her attackers show toward her. Despite its content Revenge has received excellent reviews and high praise for the skillful way its troubling subject matter was handled. Matilda Lutz deserves special recognition for her strong performance and genre-bending portrayal of a victim who fights back. 

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