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Revanche review

This Austrian thriller will keep you hooked and make you think

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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