By the end of the opening scene of Revanche something falls (maybe it was thrown) in the quite water of a lake. Then we can see the idyllic landscape of a lawn with warm colors like from a Renoir painting being molded. We can guess that all this quietness is apparent, and that it will be troubled soon by violent events. This is what eventually happens, but it happens at its own pace and is told in a clear and distinct voice in this film by Austrian director Gotz Spielmann. An unexpected suspense drama coming from a school of cinema that proves that Michael Haneke is not the only remarkable Austrian director. There is actually something from the Haneke style in this film, with a story where chance may lead to tragedy and with the world of dark secrets hidden under the appearances of quite and banal lives.

 

source www.imdb.com/title/tt1173745/

source www.imdb.com/title/tt1173745/

 

Two distinct worlds are presented in Revanche. One is the world of the brothels in Vienna where most of the working girls come from Eastern Europe, a world of sin and violence. The best characters who can populate this world are a couple of lovers (he’s some kind of bodyguard and driver, she is a hooker) who try the coup which would arrange their lives – more like in an American movie with roles like Nicolas Cage used once to play. This world is the back door of the other world, the ‘normal’ Austrian society, with pastoral country-side, devoted policemen who jog and have wives who go to church. When the two worlds meet the collision can be tragic, even if tragedy is caused only by human mistake. The ensuing drama one of these eternal stories of love, death and revenge, but a revenge which is obtained in a very unexpected manner. Eventually the balance is re-established but at a huge price.

 

(video source criterioncollection)

 

There are a lot of surprising turns in this film and I will avoid telling anything about the story in order to leave the pleasure of following it to those who are interested. I will just recommend it for the quality of acting, of cinematography and story telling. It also fits several categories of viewers – people who like dramas and thrillers as well. The film got a nomination for the Academy Awards for the Foreign Language Film, but did not win. Its place among the nominees seems to have been however well deserved.