Gladiator

May 20, 2018

DJ Rambles About Revenge (2017)

INSUFFICIENT

Of all the subgenres in film, I’m kind of a sucker for a good revenge flick.  The Count Of Monte Cristo, Kill Bill, The Crow, Django Unchained, John Wick, Gladiator, The Outlaw Josey Wales.  They are all films that are the quickest to grab my attention in terms of understanding the needs of the character.  A tale of someone seeking justice without the hindrance of rules or morals.  One of the granddaddies of them all is the 1978 exploitation film, I Spit On Your Grave.  The film I’m reviewing here, Revenge, does not come close to the gory exploitiveness of an I Spit On Your Grave.  However, one can’t help but feel that Revenge is a bit of an echo to what I Spit On Your Grave left, for better or worse.

The glitzy colors mixed with the minimalism of narrative makes Revenge feel like a Jonathan Glazer film (Sexy Beast, Under The Skin) by way of the late great Tony Scott (Literally every film in the ’90s).  It actually comes to us from French director, Coralie Fargeat.  It tells the tale of a “party girl” named Jen who, while on vacation with her married boyfriend, suddenly finds herself attacked, left for dead, and miraculously saved allowing her to seek her vengeance.  And though it seems like I’m being vague to avoid spoilers, Revenge’s plot doesn’t get much more intricate than that.  Since we come directly into the middle of a pretty cliched situation between the characters and don’t know or learn much about them, there really isn’t much for me to cling to in terms of their goodness or badness.  This is a big part, for me at least, in getting the intended catharsis of any revenge film.

We know how good of a man and how despicable of a person Maximus and Commodus are respectively before the inciting incident and quest for revenge takes place in Gladiator.  Characters do nothing but talk about the character of John Wick and the reasons he got out and why it’s really bad that he’s coming in his film.  Same with William Munny in Unforgiven, or the Bride in Kill Bill, or John Creasy in Man On Fire, or Khan Noonien Singh in Wrath Of Khan.  Because we know so little about Jen her man and her man’s friends, we are left to just focus on the incident and titular revenge, weakening the overall catharsis.  In short, you care less because you’re given hardly anything to care about.  A stripped down revenge flick was likely Fargeat’s intention, along with the idea of just having a normal victimized female brutally confronting her attackers. (A clear commentary on the social climate we are living in today with victims of physical and psychological abuse fearlessly fighting back against their abusers.) 

As I alluded to before, the visuals of the film are really well done, as well as the accompanying synthy score by Robin Coudert.  Fargeat has a great eye, a flair for symbolic imagery and a bright future ahead of her.  As far as debut feature film outings go, Revenge is not bad at all.  It just left me feeling unfulfilled near the end, making it an INSUFFICIENT tale of revenge, in my opinion.  Maybe I have to watch it again.  Maybe you have to watch it too…and then tell me I’m wrong.

March 29, 2013

The Simplistic Reviews March Madness Bracket of Good and Evil Round Two Results: FILM BAD

HANNIBAL LECTER (1) WINNER
ALEX FORREST (8)

Being rude to Dr. Lecter is essentially like poking the proverbial bear.  And nothing is ruder than an obsessed woman who won’t be ignored.  Alex can cook all the bunnies she wants.  It doesn’t stop Hannibal from making a special stew of his own…out of her.

THE JOKER (2) WINNER
ANNIE WILKES (7)

As Batman said, a crazy person like Annie Wilkes is the type of person The Joker attracts.  However, does Annie really want to be stuck in a cabin in the dead of winter with the clown prince of crime?  I don’t think so.  Go ahead, break his ankles.  The Joker would literally laugh it off.  Wilkes has nothing to threaten Mr. J with and is slowly driven even more mad.  Misery?  Poor choice of words.

KHAN NOONIEN SINGH (3) WINNER
COMMODUS (6)
Khan’s superior intellect is too much for the patricidal prince to handle.  Death smiles at us all Commodus.  Just be thankful Khan didn’t want to use any Centaurian slugs to drive home the point.  
DARTH VADER (4) WINNER
JOHN DOE (12) 

Vader finds John Doe’s lack of faith disturbing.   Doe asks for wrath and Vader grants him his wish and then some.  Jar-Jar’s head in a box, ironically, was something filmgoers were begging for during the prequels.

March 26, 2013

The Simplistic Reviews March Madness Bracket of Good and Evil Round One Results: FILM GOOD

JAMES BOND (1) WINNER
TOXIC AVENGER (16)

One is a mutated, tutu-wearing, former gym janitor, the other is a secret agent that probably has had sex with a lot of girls who wear a tutu for a living.  New Jersey’s own, Toxic Avenger, may have the moves with the mop, but it all comes down to James Bond’s Golden Gun, and he wasn’t firing blanks this time.  Bond delivers “From Russia, With Love” a victory for jolly ole’ England.

INDIANA JONES (2) WINNER
TONY STARK (15) 

Tony may be a genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist.  However, Indy is an archeologist, professor, pilot, equestrian adventurer, WWII secret agent, playboy, oh…and survived the Ark Of The Convenant and drank water from THE HOLY F%*KING GRAIL.  Even Stark would have to give it up for that one.

JOHN McCLANE (3) WINNER
FOXY BROWN (14)

John McClane has always had tough luck with women.  He either divorces them or kills them.  This one he kills.

ELLEN RIPLEY (4)
CAPTAIN JACK SPARROW (13) WINNER

This goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway; Jack Sparrow knows how to charm a lady.  Even if that lady has faced Xenomorphs, androids, and criminal rapists in an intergalactic penal colony.  Savvy?  Ellen Ripley appears so.  However, before she can unload her pulse cannon, the crafty captain boards her ship, shivers her timbers, and hoists his main sail (innuendo).  I’m sure Ripley would welcome a facehugger after a night with Captain Jack Sparrow, who upsets one of the heavy hitters in this bracket.

HAN SOLO (5) WINNER
HIT-GIRL (12)

Han shot first…nuff said. 

CAPTAIN JAMES T. KIRK (6) WINNER
BEATRIX KIDDO (11)
Beatrix Kiddo may be a world class assassin , but she has always been a sucker for charismatic older men.  And they don’t get any more charismatic than James T. Kirk.  Suffice to say Kirk gives The Bride the night of her life before setting his phaser to kill.

MAXIMUS DECIMUS MERIDIUS (7)
SARAH CONNOR (10) WINNER

It was that time of the month…You know what I mean guys…you know.

BATMAN (8) WINNER
JASON BOURNE (9)

Batman has dealt with his share of criminals, killers, and psychotics.  But I can’t say he’s dealt with an ex-CIA agent with a bad case of amnesia, a chip on his shoulder, and the ability to kill someone with a pencil or a book.  The Dark Knight had to pull out all of the tricks from his utility belt to deal with Jason Bourne, who got in a few early shots.  However, he was ultimately dealt a mortal wound courtesy of a Batarang.  He might not be Deadshot, but Bourne was merely a shot away from dispatching Gotham’s protector in this hotly contested battle.
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