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Best of Boston 2009

Review: Revanche

A parable of crime and punishment
By PETER KEOUGH  |  April 29, 2009
3.0 3.0 Stars


VIDEO: The trailer for Revanche

Opening with portentous symbolism, studied sordidness, and generous nudity, Austrian director Götz Spielmann's neo–film noir seems like a parody of a foreign film. But as it unfolds, it constructs a parable of crime and punishment, redemption and revenge. Alex (Johannes Krisch), a gofer for a Viennese pimp, needs cash to escape from his boss (Hanna Poeschl) and take his Ukrainian girlfriend (Tamara Potapenko), the pimp's top earner, with him.

The heist goes wrong, of course, but in an unpredictable way, and Alex flees to his grumpy grandpa in a rural village. Meanwhile, one of the village cops, Robert (Andreas Lust), is having problems. He can't get his wife pregnant, a screw-up at work is nagging at him, and he's doubting his manhood.

Susanne (Ursula Strauss), meanwhile, seems attracted to Alex, and after much angstful woodcutting, the genre's conventions take some satisfying turns. Revanche suggests that even the best-planned follies have far-reaching consequences, most of them unexpected, and not all of them bad.

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