Don’t the loveliest of movies sometimes come from the unlikeliest of places.
Who’d have thought that one of the finest crime films we’d see in a long, long time would come from tiny Austria (annual film production of Austria=15% of Telugu movies in a year).
Hey, how many of you Bollywood, Kollywood and Tollywood fanatics can even locate Austria on the map?
For the life of us, we can’t remember how or where we heard of the German film Revanche.
But boy are we glad that we made the trip to Philadelphia today to see Revanche (playing at Ritz at the Bourse on 4th St).
Of course, knowledgeable (no, not you) film buffs are familiar with Revanche.
After all, this is the movie that has garnered a rich haul of awards including an Oscar Nomination last year for Best Foreign Language Film and earned high praise from a gaggle of critics.
Does a 94% favorable rating on the Tomatometer impress you?
Folks, that’s what Revanche got on the Rotten Tomatoes web site!
Greater than Sum of its Parts
Very rarely do we get the sense after watching a movie that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
With Revanche, we hit that paydirt.
A very plausible tale complemented by solid acting from the small cast and a tight screenplay come together in a fine ensemble in the competent hands of director Gotz Spielmann resulting in an engrossing two hours for viewers.
Set in a small village not far from the Austrian capital Vienna, the story of Revanche in essence is an account of a bank holdup gone awry and following on to unanticipated consequences.
Lovers Alex (Johannes Krisch) and his Ukrainian girlfriend Tamara (Irina Potapenko) work for Viennese brothel owner Konecny, Alex as a helper/driver and Tamara as a prostitute.
After a vicious beating arranged by the thuggish brothel owner to soften her up, Tamara and Alex run from Konecny.
Soon they embark on the ill-fated bank holdup that has fatal consequences for Tamara when a village policeman Robert with a clumsy aim shoots and kills her while ostensibly aiming at the tires of their getaway car.
A distraught, angry and guilt-ridden Alex ends up at his aged grandfather’s farm nearby when, voila, a most unpalatable surprise unfolds for Alex.
Revanche director Gotz Spielmann (also the writer of the screenplay) paints a bucolic visual picture of an Austrian village seething with tensions under the placid surface of cows, sweet apples and the Sunday ritual of a mass at the church.
Simmering tension you get glimpses of as Alex chops logs for firewood, as Robert frets over his accidental killing of Tamara and his infertility, as Robert’s mother raises the inability of Susanne (Ursula Strauss) to conceive et al.
But there’s more than just tension as some characters espy an opportunity in the presence of a newcomer setting the stage for more twists.
Revanche’s characters are all solidly developed on the sturdy scaffolding of a neat screenplay.
Revenge is Mine
As this fine movie shows, revenge (English for Revanche) sometimes takes on a strange dynamic, its bitter course unfathomable and hidden even from some of the principal actors involved in plotting vengeance.
Plenty of Nudity
Be warned if you plan to watch this film with kids that there’s a lot of nudity here including frontal glimpses of women as god made them. There are also scenes showing rough sex.
Like all fine foreign movies, Revanche has likely had only a limited release in the U.S. And that’s a shame because more people ought to get a chance to see this fine German film (with English subtitles).
It’s highly unlikely this movie will ever make it to India and the DVD is still not available. But those are minor roadblocks for the hardcore desi recidivists, right na? 😉
“The Messenger” may become a bigger “classic” than Revanche.
Atleast one brilliant SI reader(SkjoldbjÃ¦rg) knew about this movie..
last comment in..
you probably heard of Revanche from his awesome link.. SkjoldbjÃ¦rg Mahaan
it is not available on Netflix… “Save”d it.
Ha ha ha.
Talk of claiming credit where none is due.
//Hey, how many of you Bollywood, Kollywood and Tollywood fanatics can even locate Austria on the map?//
I always remember being the only student of my class to mark Austria’s location in the map correctly in Geography exams! 😀
Are you sure you are not confusing the continent Australia for the country Austria…After all, it’s just a matter of two extra letters in the latter. 😉
No,no,I’m talking about Austria only,the country which produced musical Greats like Mozart,and was also quite a powerful political force in Europe once under the rule of Habsburgs! 😉
Thanks for the clarification.
We first thought you were referring to Nicole Kidman’s country. 😉
gonna watch kurbaan?
Not sure because The Twilight Saga: New Moon is also releasing tomorrow.
The New York Times had a fairly fawning article on New Moon star Kristen Stewart last Sunday. After reading the piece, we are tempted to see Kristen.
Kristen was on Conan a few days ago.. she was kinda jealous that the Bella (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bella_Swan) dolls are much better endowed than her.
You’ll probably be able to appreciate her better in http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/adventureland/ without the vampire/werewolf distractions
1. Thanks, will watch Adventureland.
Here’s an excerpt from the NYT piece on Kristen:
2. Watching Kristen on Conan on YouTube now.
was watching this..
I will try to ..uh uh translate myself in English in here…(laughter) Every boddy is apprecating I have done temendus wark…(laughter) each and every year I have earned crores and crores every day …ba ba ba (laughter) It is duty of my to grow pruit…. (laughter)
What a bloody clown. To think this moron was a Cabinet Minister until recently.
A Cabinet Minister who can’t construct a simple sentence in English has no place in our Cabinet.
HTF did he interact with his officials or non-Railway executives?
But he knew how to make money..!!
“When he took over, the Indian Railways was a loss-making organization. In the 4 years under his leadership, made a cumulative total profit of Rs. 25,000 crore (US$ 5.2 billion dollars).” – Wiki.
That is a mystery to us too. Because Lalu did not exactly cover himself with glory while running Bihar.
Where did this administrative talent spring from, all of a sudden?
“Well known schools of management were interested in Yadav’s leadership in managing the turnaround (with more or less the same IAS officers & the same workforce who worked under the previous ministers). He went to and addressed over a hundred students from Harvard, Wharton and others in Hindi. He has received invitations from 8 Ivy League schools for lectures. The turnaround of the Indian Railways is now being studied by the students of the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad. Prof G. Raghuram, a faculty member, IIM-A, has already conducted a detailed study on the Railways turnaround”
You write: He went to and addressed over a hundred students from Harvard, Wharton
It’s the alumni of Harvard and other Ivy League schools working on Wall St who have brought us to the current plight.
I canâ€™t wait to see this movie.
Lalu is like a typical manager in Dilbert Comics, who takes credit for all the hard work done by his sub-ordinates and predecessors.
In fact Nitish Kumar did a tremendous job in cutting railway losses and handed the ministry on a platter to Laloo.
Laloo’s greatest achievement as a railway minister was to curb his natural instincts and continuing with the good work done by Nitish, instead of derailing it and giving the IAS officers a free reign to implement changes in behemoth Indian Railways.
Were you on crack while watching the movie?
We turned back disappointed. The movie seemed like couple of totally disjoint parts. The first part of the movie i.e. until the bank robbery was totally unnecessary. They could have as well started out the movie with the bank robbery without losing any of its spirit. And the bank robbery was hilarious. You point a gun and simply walk away with cash and no security guards confront you? That’s simply mind boggling and unbelievable. And the ending was damp squib. It was as if the makers ran out of money to shoot and decided to show whatever was made. I am putting this along with Slumdog Millionaire – all spice but very little substance.
1. You write: Were you on crack while watching the movie
Yes, us and countless other reviewers at your favorite RottenTomatoes web site.
Remember the famous line in your comment of May 15, 2009: I always look at rottentomatoes.com, which gives ratings based on averaging reviews from different sources. If the rating is more than 70%, I go watch the movie soon after release) Well, kiddo, Revanche has 94%.
2. You write: We turned back disappointed
Because there was no Namitha (Tamil), Kareena (Hindi) or Ramya (Kannada). 😉
3. Remember, that was a village bank, where security usually tends to be a little lax.
4. You write: The first part of the movie i.e. until the bank robbery was totally unnecessary. They could have as well started out the movie with the bank robbery without losing any of its spirit
No, that was necessary. Provides the context and reason for the robbery. Both are in a bad state financially. She’s in hock for $30k and he needs 80k Euros for a business venture.
As the situation at the brothel takes a turn for the worse for both, they are forced to make a run for it and later when they are holed up elsewhere with little resources they go for the bank heist (which he’d been mulling earlier too).
5. You write: I am putting this along with Slumdog Millionaire – all spice but very little substance.
Most definitely not. Revanche has class written all over it.
6. You write: And the ending was damp squib
We didn’t think so. In a way, our protagonist has gotten the revenge he was looking for. Only, he didn’t know about it.
The pregnant woman realizes what has happened as she puts her palms to her face/mouth in the end because our protagonist has made his vengeful feelings on the killer clear once when he was in her house.
1. Just because I watch movies based on RT ratings does not mean that I agree with them all the time. I do disagree sometimes and this is one such instance. The critics do get starry-eyed at times. One top-critic reviews the movie and says its awesome, most follow suit for various reasons.
2. Totally agree 😉
3. If that was the case most hacks would pilferage the countryside. And that too, after the guy repeatedly insisting he had elaborate plans for the easy getaway, the “plan” if you can ever call that one, is pathetic to put it mildly.
4. The motive could have been effectively established in a couple of scenes, instead of the long drawn out adult documentary.
5. Have to disagree. SM had 93% on RT and won the Oscar. But my views are same as (1).
6. Could have been effective but for the bad acting of the lady in that scene and the lack of finesse on the part of the director.
1. You write above: One top-critic reviews the movie and says its awesome, most follow suit for various reasons
If RT reviewers had such a pack-mentality, you and a gazillion others wouldn’t take it seriously.
2. You write: And that too, after the guy repeatedly insisting he had elaborate plans for the easy getaway, the “plan” if you can ever call that one, is pathetic to put it mildly
What would you expect a penniless, pathetic failure (already in his mid-to-late 30s) who lets his girlfriend work as a hooker to say.
3. You write: The motive could have been effectively established in a couple of scenes, instead of the long drawn out adult documentary
Think of all the skin-show you (and more importantly we) would have missed. 😉
4. You write: If that was the case most hacks would pilferage the countryside
Yes, if everyone in the countryside had cojones they’d do it. Like the cows in their midst, people in the countryside tend to be bovine and subdued. More law-abiding.
Remember, the conversation between the old man at the farm and the cop’s wife where he tells her (before the bank robbery, by the way) that people from the city are either arrogant or scoundrels.
Now, don’t forget that our man Alex is a city-clicker from Vienna plus an ex-convict.
5. We thought the acting, all round, was decent.
6. It’s possible that after you saw the 94% rating on RT, your internal expectation meter shot up to 200%.
BTW, Roshomon (yes, Kurosawa’s tour de force) is now playing @ Ritz at the Bourse in Philly.
If you really want to watch a good drama well executed with excellant background music by legend ilayaraja and a simple story , you should watch the movie veedu
Unfortunately, Netflix doesn’t carry Veedu.
Hear the excellent background by the legend from that movie:
Very nice, particularly the second link.
Both veedu pieces are part of IR’s 1986 album – “How to name it”
How to name it is missing on iTunes. Surprising.
Maybe hiding in some album under some stupid title like Golden Hits or some such nonsense.
Thanks vetti jijaji.
This is my favorite from that album where maestro adopts
Saint Thyagaraja’s work:
You can hear the album here
If any of your friends visit US, ask them to get the movie dvd for you.
Nice music. We’ll try to get the CD/DVD.