Film Review Revanche
Director: Gotz Spielman (2008)
Holy none existent gods!
Before I get into my review I have to confess I watch alot of European films, and I mean alot of European films. I’m not one of those beret wearing, aromatic tea drinking snobs who rallies behind the innocent smoothie movement and goosebumps at any black and white pull focuses in films about sexual awakening, but I am pretty avid about my European films. Why the hell wouldn’t I be? Before I discovered Le Haine i thought Boys In The Hood was the only ghetto around, before Irreversible I thought Memento was one of the most original films ever made and before Michael Haneke’s Funny Games I found some enjoyment in Michael Haneke’s American Funny Games. To sum up, I like European cinema, not all mind, I still, no matter how many times I’ve tried or it’s recommended to me, cannot stand Hidden and I will fully accept the old classic ‘nothing happens for ages, it’s all just one angle still shots that last for ages’ criticism. Some European films are absolute none-event guff R.E. Hidden, but when they hit form I truly believe they rival any of the big American or even Asian beauties.
And this, my friends, is one of the greats. I fucking love this film, seriously, if this film were a stunningly hot drunk girl whose lost al her friends and just given me her number I wouldn’t even try a move, instead I’d take the lady home, text politely explaining the situation the next morning and then delete her number once I was sure she was ok. This is one of those classy girls that you just don’t want to spoil.
Long pro European film speech and hot girl fantasy analogy over I’ll now review the film Revanche…….
Revanche is a story about the collision of two couples. One couple features an Ex-con in Vienna named Alex and his prostitute girlfriend Tamara. Alex is an odd-job man for Tamara’s Big Wig pimp and is desperate to try and save Tamara from the life she leads. The other couple is Robert, a country policeman and his good natured wife Suzanne who have just suffered a miscarriage. Sounds great right? An Instant classic! No, well you’ve at least got to admit there’s potential in the premise.
And by none existent gods does Gotz Spielman drag and stretch every inch of potential out of this film. It’s just masterful storytelling, every shot is timed to perfection, the pace is perfect, allowing for tension to build and dissipate and every scene ends in a way that just leaves you wanting more. Even the obligatory one angle still shot slots in perfectly. Every moment either something’s happening or you’re reflecting with the characters on something that just happened. And I mean genuine reflecting. At no point is there one of those annoying ‘oh look he’s sat still in a chair smoking and thinking hard about his inner turmoil’ scenes where a character just sits contemplating big events. I mean seriously, who the fuck does that! No one! Period! People pace up and down, they clean, my mum sings operatically and I go for long drives listening to loud music. They do not sit there staring into the middle distance for ninety hours on end until the need for a final act.
And that rant leads into why Revanche truly cause my eyes to sparkle and my mouth muscles to crease into one of those upside down frowns. The characterisation is so incredible; every character is well observed and beautifully shades of grey. Take Tamara’s big wig pimp who’s obviously an exploitative asshole, but when we first see him, Tamara’s taking a cigarette break and he just walks up jovially to ask her if she’s taking a break, pats her on the shoulder and then walks on. No slap, no badass dialogue about ‘time being money bitch’, just a perfectly amicable middle management type. Later on the pimp pays Tamara a visit at her house (Alex hides under her bed to avoid being caught) and tells her to become a high-class prostitute to the stars and politicians with her own apartment. She refuses, he tells her to think about it and requests a blow job before he leaves, Alex is forced to watch as Tamara gets in position and removes big wig pimp’s belt, only for him to stop her, and laugh at the very idea of making her do such a thing.
Like I said beautifully shade of grey and the films just full of things like this, Paul the cop appears a lad’s lad at the beginning but is actually a very affected broken man, especially by the events that occur. Alex’s granddad appears a curmudgeonly religious zealot who chastises Alex as a heathen, but turns out he’s actually a lonely old man who’s lost his wife, clinging on to his independence and only derives pleasure from playing an old accordion. Or take Suzanne who…………. well you get the picture and I don’t want to spoil everything.
Big credit and gratitude once more to Gotz Spielman, he takes the story and never goes down the obvious routes. Instead he really tells a story, without moral judgements or stereotypes that keeps everything up until the conclusion ticking like clockwork. Truly a beautiful film! Thank you Mr Spielman.
I really debated about putting this in, and am going to give anyone who hasn’t seen this film a second chance before I go any further , trust me it’s worth waiting to watch this film
Ok, how amazing is that moment near the end where Alex throws his gun in the lake and then the wind picks up and the whole lake just blows along. According to the director’s commentary this was purely by chance, an act of nature. You know it’s a good film when Mother Nature adds her own touch.
Written By Sam ‘I actually once overdosed on green innocent smoothies and ended up with a terrible tummy’ McKinstrie