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revanche [Rating: 3/5]

I’ll say this about Gotz Spielman’s newest film, “Revanche”:  it’s not predictable.   It starts out as a lurid and seedy story about an immigrant prostitute and her secret boyfriend the bouncer.   Then it acts like it might turn into a heist film, or a cops and robbers thriller.   Then it stops in it tracks, and begins to feel like it might end up being about revenge; after all, that’s what the title means.  Then it’s a character study, and the gun gets thrown in the pond, and the end.  

Which means you will either love it or hate it.   It is well-made.  The characters come alive, the setting seem real, and even through all those gearshifts, I remained very interested in where it was going next.   The end – I hate to give it away more than I already have – is something I’ve wanted and wished for in so many crime movies.   And yet it was strangely unsatisfying.   

The plot starts twisting so quickly, it’s hard to summarize it without giving away at least some of it.   Like I said, there’s a prostitute in trouble, and a bouncer who loves her.   There’s also a cop with some issues, and his wife.  They can’t get pregnant, and it’s taking its toll on their marriage.   The bouncer has an elderly, rustic grandfather, who believes that everyone who goes to the city becomes either a jerk or a scumbag.  His grandson’s a scumbag, or so he thinks.   

The bouncer saws and chops a crapload of firewood for his grandfather, while he’s trying to decide what else to do.   And here’s the way “Revanche” works:  from the moment it introduced that big, scary chopsaw he uses to saw the logs into pieces, I was expecting, even dreading, a bloody accident or murder involving the saw.  Introduce the gun in the first, fire it in the third.  But it never happens.  Spielman’s bold enough to not follow through, and audacious enough to think that you won’t mind.   He’s got guts, and talent.   You’ll have to decide if he makes good on his broken promises.

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