Takes its time, but ultimately captivating
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Starring: Johannes Krisch, Irina Potapenko, Ursula Strauss
Director: Götz Spielmann
Running Time: 121 mins
Revanche is an Austrian film about a bank robber who, after seeing his girlfriend killed in a job gone wrong, seeks to exact revenge on the man who murdered her.
A film that certainly takes its time telling its story, Revanche isn’t always the most electrifying drama-thriller, with a frankly tedious opening act that only eventually unfolds into something stronger. However, when the stakes are raised and things get serious, there’s a brilliantly subtle tension to the film that keeps you hooked right to the finish.
Let’s start off, however, with the film’s opening act, which is easily the biggest stumbling block you’ll come up against in order to really engross yourself in Revanche. For the best part of 45 minutes from the start, the film really takes its time establishing the core relationship between the two leads, and the romance that will inevitably be ripped apart by tragedy.
The amount of time the film spends on tasty story, however, is far too long, and with an excessively slow pace and lack of real emotional drama to engross you in the lead characters’ relationship, it proves an incredibly dull and ultimately fairly irrelevant opening act.
That’s because the moment where the story turns, and we see the murder happen, the movie changes into something so much sharper, and so much more interesting. My lack of emotional engagement in the opening act had no bearings on my intrigue following the film’s key incident, showing just how poor an opening act it was, and how striking a twist of fate the second act offers up.
Very much taking the Michael Haneke approach, director Götz Spielmann cleverly grabs you with the unexpected but organic transition from an incident that at first seems fairly inconsequential, yet has far-reaching consequences that completely change the outlook of the story.
As a result, while the film retains the slow and patient nature of the early stages, there’s an ingeniously crafted tension that subtly bubbles throughout, never building to a point that’s too melodramatic, but gradually developing in a way that keeps you thoroughly on edge as to what’s going to happen next.
Therefore, thanks to a great lead performance from Johannes Krisch, as well as a clever screenplay that features realistic and equally captivating dialogue, Revanche develops from a hugely underwhelming film into something that’s really quite engrossing, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.4 overall.