Revanche ~ (Austria, 2008) ~ DVD

Ah, sweet revenge. But it’s not so sweet in this noir tale set  in Vienna. Alex is a gofer at a brothel and his girlfriend works there as well. When she’s presented with an unattractive option by the mobster who runs things, they both go into hiding. This leaves the problem of money, however, and Alex happens to know a bank that’s easy pickings. Or so he thinks until his girl insists on accompanying him and things go terribly wrong, with tragic consequences.

On the run from the law, Alex hides out at his elderly father’s farmhouse. The neighbors are a couple that are floundering with their inability to conceive. The husband happens to be  a police officer.  And he happens to be the police officer who almost captured Alex after his bank robbery. Well, this stretches credibility. And when the wife seeks to solve their inability to conceive by offering herself up to Alex, well the credibility band nearly snaps. Still…

Still, this is a film not first and foremost concerned with plot integrity per se, but with motive and conscience. And if you can overlook the too convenient coincidences, there is some meat here. Lots of inner turmoil and guilt and compromises. Along with the pace and feel of the film, the directors metier is the exploration of that most elusive moral compass: conscience. It can pin a being into a straight-jacket of inaction or it can prevent action just in the nick of time when it’s unexpectedly discovered.

Alex is played with a smoldering rage by Johannes Krisch. He chops a mean pile of wood as you will see. His father (Johannes Thanheiser) is an actor that plays a character not much seen in these parts (Hollywood).  After the film leaves the low life of Vienna, it blossoms out in the open of the countryside. An unusual film that should leave you satisfied.


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