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Revanche (The Criterion Collection)
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New video interview with Spielmann
The Making of: Revanche, a half-hour documentary shot on the film’s set Foreign Land, Spielmann’s award-winning student short film, with an introduction by the director
U.S. theatrical trailer
New and improved English subtitle translation
An essay by critic Michael Wood
Top Customer Reviews
Alex and Tamara are in love. Unfortunately, there's little chance their love can work out. He's an ex-con working as a bouncer at the brothel where she turns tricks for a cruel and jealous pimp, who's not about to let her go and who would kill Alex if he found out. Hoping to make enough money to turn things around, Alex plots a fail-safe bank robbery, in which he thinks no one could possibly get hurt. He doesn't even bring a loaded gun. Things don't work out as he planned, however, and Alex has to take refuge at his grandfather's farm out in the country, where events take a truly unexpected turn.
The film opens with a powerful image that suggests the feel of the film that follows. A beautiful rippling reflection of trees in a pond at dawn (dusk?) is given an ominous sense by the lightly disturbing tones that hum softly in the background. Suddenly and loudly, the eerie calm is disrupted by a heavy object that is thrown into the water. The images of a tranquil forest, reflected in the trees, are interrupted violently by the splash and subsequent waves, until they gradually return to a semblance of their former look. Likewise, the uneasy peace of a small town is interrupted by the bank robbery, and the uneasy marriage of a childless young couple is further unsettled by the husband's tragic chance encounter with the criminals. It's hard to know in advance whether the easygoing peace will return.Read more ›
Alex, an ex-convict, works as a gopher/driver for the owner of the brothel, and, in secret, carries on an affair with Tamara, a prostitute who needs 30,000 dollars to essentially buy her freedom. He hatches a plan to rob a bank, thereby acquiring the money they'll need to escape their dead-end lives (I've yet to see this turn out to be a good idea). Unsurprisingly, the bank robbery does not go off as planned, and Alex must confront the dark corners of his nature and decide what sort of revenge is justified when the world doesn't go along with your desires.
I've purposely left out a lot while summing up the film because, even though the information is easily accessible, it moves at different pace and with so few conventional clues that it achieves a heightened unpredictability that I wouldn't want to ruin. Unpredictable may be too strong of a description, but the director does add a dose of uncertainty to a storyline that, in other hands, might have been numbingly safe and routine.Read more ›
In a way, this one film, is two very different parts in both mood and tone. However, it is in fact, one linear storyline, that is separated by an event that occurs midway through the movie. And by the time, it's done, seemingly different as the two components of the film may be, the whole is quite impressive and unique.
While everyone likes (and awards) the flashy performances, the ones I always find most satisfying are the restrained, carefully measured ones. The lead actor here is singular in the sense that he is cold, hard, detached, and understated--as he should be--but he also some very intense emotional moments which are compounded upon impact by the fact that the viewer has become so accustomed to his usual demeanor.
Another unique component to this brilliant work, is that it has almost no music whatsoever. No score, only a few isolated scenes with music as a necessary component. It's all about the quiet moments, the words spoken, and the ambient nature sounds that sound rich, from even the most basic tv speakers.
"Revanche" has some rather bold narrative and filmic approaches to its relatively traditional minimalism, observationism, and very otherwise typically European film sensibility. It's a welcome fit to the Criterion Collection, and it would be a welcome addition to any cinemaphile's library.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I found this move in a top 100 list for romance films. I don't agree that it's a romance movie. I didn't "buy" the motivation for one of the character's actions which is a... Read morePublished 21 days ago by I. Yen
Best international drama I've seen in years.... Just perfect... Must seePublished 5 months ago by fran zapart
Hated it... I am currently learning Deutsch and I thought this would help but the story line was so bad I could not watch it.Published 8 months ago by Rex Wolfgang
Intriguing film. Astute. Well filmed. Well acted. Enjoy this movie.Published 8 months ago by John Gallagher
euro-noir...a bungled bank robbery and its emotionally complicated aftermath...a compelling thriller that's also a great character study...clever plot turns, well-placed... Read morePublished 9 months ago by billofwrites
Moves very slowly for a "thriller" but it's worth the time for the beautiful cinematography and the spare yet complicated script. Read morePublished 12 months ago by H. Swerdloff
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