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Sweet Revenge

17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Sam Neill, Helena Bonham Carter and Kristin Scott Thomas form a winning combination in this offbeat comedy treat.
Quite by chance, depressed businessman Henry Bell (Neill) and quirky aristocrat Karen Knightly (Bonham Carter) save each other's life...just as they both attempt to leap from London's Tower Bridge. With renewed spirit, Karen quickly invents a plot of devilish retaliation against those who drove them to the edge: she'll punish the man who stole Henry's job and he'll destroy the life of the woman (Scott Thomas) who broke up Karen's love affair. Revenge becomes the name of the game in this "stylishly played black comedy" (Variety).

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Sam Neill, Helena Bonham Carter, Kristin Scott Thomas
  • Directors: Malcolm Mowbray
  • Format: Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Echo Bridge Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: June 5, 2012
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B007PXYV1O
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #134,159 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By "flickjunkie" on March 7, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
British humor is distinctly different from American humor and this film illustrates that point nicely. American humor hits you with a sledgehammer, with outrageous gags and extremely explicit content. British humor is full of innuendo, irony and subtlety. It is thoughtful wit, full of "aha!" moments. This is why Americans often refer to British humor as being dry, mostly because we don't like pondering over our comedy. We prefer a guffaw to a good snicker.
In this film, Karen (Helena Bonham Carter) and Henry (Sam Neill) meet one night on a bridge where they both went to commit suicide. Henry is interrupted from jumping by the cries of Karen who has botched her attempt. After he saves her, they commiserate and decide that getting revenge would be better than committing suicide. They make a pact where each of them agrees to even the score for the other with their respective objects of contempt.
Karen becomes a secretary to Henry's old boss (Steve Coogan) and proceeds to make his life a living hell, convincing his wife he is having an affair. Henry's target is Imogen (Kristen Scott Thomas), whom Karen hates because she stole her husband back from Karen, with whom he was having an affair. The film is replete with highbrow humor that you would only see in an English film. There is plenty of class-warfare comedy poking fun at the aristocracy.
Helena Bonham Cater is brilliantly droll as the diabolical Karen. She is deliciously evil as she cunningly plots Bruce's demise. Long known as a terrific dramatic actor, Bonham Carter shows here that she can convert that energy into an intensely offbeat and funny character with equal impact. Sam Neill is also entertaining as Henry, a bumbling victim of fate who allows himself to be swept along by circumstances.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By carol irvin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 29, 2001
Format: DVD
I used to go to the theater frequently and one playwright I came to adore was Alan Ayckbourn from the UK. He was to comedic plays what playwrights David Mamet and Sam Shepherd were to dramatic ones. Ayckbourn's gift is to hit dead on the essential underpinnings of the British middle and upper classes and set them up for laughter amidst a rollicking good story line. I was absolutely astounded to discover how good Helena Bonham-Carter is doing comedic material. When I first put the disk on the player, hubby saw she was in it and groaned, being convinced she plays nothing other than sullen witches. He was even more astounded than I was by the utterly transformed Bonham-Carter.

The basic premise of the comedy is simple. Bonham-Carter will get revenge on Neill's competitor who stole his job. In exchange, Neill will wreck revenge upon the wife of Bonham-Carter's former lover. This leads to one hilarious scene after another with the high point being a duel in the woods, with shotguns, between Neill and the former lover. Only Ayckbourn could come up with 2 Brits using shotguns instead of dueling pistols in the name of honor and make it gently humorous instead of outright Monty Python zaney. If you have never seen an Ayckbourn play or film before, you are in for a treat. Ayckbourn becomes an acquired taste along the way that no other playwright fills quite as well in his little niche British world.

Visit my blog with link given on my profile page here or use this phonetically given URL (livingasseniors dot blogspot dot com). Friday's entry will always be weekend entertainment recs from my 5 star Amazon reviews in film, tv, books and music. These are very heavy on buried treasures and hidden gems. My blogspot is published on Monday, Wednesday & Friday.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Kona VINE VOICE on December 1, 2005
Format: DVD
As the story begins, Henry (Sam Neill) has lost his job to an unscrupulous co-worker, and has decided to end it all by jumping off Tower Bridge. There he meets eccentric Karen (Helena Bonham Carter) who has just bungled her own suicide attempt (her lover went back to his wife). They start talking about how much they wish their enemies were dead and Karen gleefully suggests they each do the job for the other. Henry assumes she's kidding, of course, but the next morning he finds Karen has gone ahead with the plan.

If you think this plot sounds a lot like Hitchcock's thriller, "Strangers on a Train," you're right. The difference is this one's played for big laughs with dark humor that I really enjoyed. Neill is very good as the innocent man who gets caught up in the wacky plot hatched by Bonham Carter's character. She steals the show with her outrageous cheekiness. Kristin Scott Thomas is the lover's haughty wife, and no one plays the disdainful aristocrat better than she does. Comic actor Steve Coogan is hysterical as Henry's nemesis. If you like British comedies, you'll love "Sweet Revenge;" it's fast, funny, and loaded with droll upper-class humor. Excellent!

Kona
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By K.J. on April 10, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I was expecting this to be a whole lot funnier than it was. It was OK but not a barrel of laughs.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By LGwriter on July 17, 2008
Format: DVD
Taking a cue from American ex-pat Patricia Highsmith's Strangers on a Train, playwright Alan Ayckbourn penned the plays on which Sweet Revenge was based, in whith two strangers each agree to bump off the person causing him/her the most misery in their respective lives.

Of course Ayckbourn can't duplicate what Highsmith had already brilliantly done, so he starts things off with both parties being suicidal (definitely NOT part of the Highsmith story), then moves in very different directions from Highsmith indeed.

Malcolm Mowbray, the talented director of this movie, (he also directed another punchy black comedy, but set in the States, Out Cold--with Teri Garr, John Lithgow and Randy Quaid--highly recommended), has done a great job deftly blending wry British humor with black comedy (very black, indeed) as well as romantic highjinks and some outright guffaws.

When you see sparrows blithely flying around a living room, part of a huge mansion in which the younger son rides his motor scooter on a regular basis and the older sister (one of the two parties involved in the revenge pact) changes her appearance in the blink of an artistocratic eye, you can tell there's a lot of fun to be had.

And there is. Highsmith's story has no comedy whatsoever, but Ayckbourn is a master of this mesh of comedy and biting stuff, and that comes across beautifully in this film version. The acting by the three leads (Sam Neill, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Helena Bonham Carter) is great, with the definite nod for scene stealer going to Ms. Carter, who seems capable of doing basically anything in front of a camera (see Fight Club and Twelfth Night for radically different and consistently excellent performances).

A very nice piece of work. Recommended!
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