An Austrian film noir?
Odd concept, you might think, but consider how many of the classic noir directors – Lang, Preminger, Wilder, Ulmer – were Austrian-born. Besides, Götz Spielmann’s Oscar-nommed film is anything but conventional noir.
Though it takes several characters who’d fit well into the genre – the ex-con with big ambitions, the Ukrainian prostitute, the local cop, his restless wife – it entangles their lives in unforeseen ways.
And while we kick off in the grim streets and sleazy knocking-shops of Vienna’s red-light district, most of the action is set amid the woods and lakes of Austria’s quiet countryside.
Spielmann overturns expectations – time and again, scenes don’t play out as anticipated. He takes his time, too – this is no slam-bang actioner.
But the deliberate pacing lets us look deeper into these lives than most crime movies would trouble to do. Revanche (French for ‘revenge’) is that rarest of things – a thoughtful thriller.
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