Twenty years after a man raped her when she was only thirteen years old, Emma, Rakel Hamre hangs herself.
Mad with grief, her older sister Rebekka, Siren Jørgensen (“Play”, “Lilyhammer (TV)”) decides to take revenge on the man at the source of her sister’s pain, Morten, Frode Winther (“Borderliner (TV)”, “Nokas”).
He is now the manager of a hotel in a beautiful fjord, living there with his wife Nina, Maria Bock (“Stup”, “Lilyhammer (TV)”) and their baby.
Under the false identity of a journalist for a travel magazine, Rebekka befriends Morten and the rest of the town and starts plotting a scheme to expose the man’s secrets.
Revenge is a suspenseful and captivating revenge thriller by director Kjersti Steinsbø (“Liten Knute (Short)”, “Forlat oss var skyld (Short)”) based on Ingvar Ambjørnsen’s book, Doll in the Ceiling.
Every character is intriguing and all of the dialogue, especially during the first part of the movie, seem to be full of secrets and hidden motives; the viewer assesses how trustworthy each person looks to be at the same time as Rebekka does, while also not letting her off the hook either – while Rebekka is far from full insanity, she is clearly not sane either.
The small effortless smile she constantly wears on her lips as an attempt to look friendly ironically betrays the grief and anger she is hiding, looking more like a mask than a genuine warmness, and her nights are filled with dreams of her sister.
Some parts of her plan also involve their share of unease: a major part of her revenge relies on Rebekka switching the phone number of Sara, Kine Bortheim Jentoft, the teenage daughter of one of Morten’s friend, with her own on Morten’s phone, to then lure him with explicit messages and get tangible proof of his attraction to young girls.
Unfortunately, this also makes Morten more attracted to Sarah when he sees her in person, putting her in danger – something Rebekka doesn’t seem to care much about.
Whether a flaw of the movie itself or of the character (making her all the more blinded by her quest for vengeance), this makes the story even more thrilling.
The supporting cast is also very good, with compelling characters brought to life by talented actors. The dynamic between the women on one part and the men on the other is especially well-handled.
There is a real sense of intimacy that builds between the women, with Rebekka letting herself be more open with the other female characters, who themselves share with her their doubts and secrets as she seems to be the only one who listens.
The male characters, on the other hand blindly trust Morten even when confronted with the red flags of his behavior. As the story progresses things get more complex, but the men’s protection of Morten rings very true to real life, which, again, only serves the movie for the better.
The plot involves some minor suspension of disbelief from the viewers (mainly regarding her false identity, with no one asking her to show any proof that she is indeed a journalist), which is always disappointing in a thriller, but it is still an engaging ride with the added bonus of the Norwegian landscape, fully exploited during the entirety of the film.
Revenge ends up being a classic revenge thriller, with some originally here and there but keeping to the usual outline of the genre. But even if it doesn’t stand out, it is still an efficient and satisfying film – and if it doesn’t entertain you, you will at the very least appreciate the beautiful landscapes.