Revanche — brought to you by the Battelle Film Club— centers on Johannes Krisch’s Alex.
He’s in love with prostitute Tamara. To get her out of a brothel and free them from debt, Alex robs a bank. During the escape, Tamara is killed. The cop that shot her didn’t mean to kill her. It’s just how things went down.
Fleeing the crime and with nowhere else to go, Alex heads into the countryside and holes up at his grandfather’s. The cop just happens to live next door. Alex gets involved with the man’s wife. The relationship just happens. It’s not part of the revenge he plans for the cop.
Or did the relationship just happen?
Writer/director Gotz Spielmann’s Oscar-nominated film is an incredible piece of work. He’s a patient storyteller playing with the proverb "Revenge is a dish best served cold."
Spielmann has an uncanny ability to give emphasis and meaning to what isn’t spoken. Two men struggle with the same event. One knows more than the other. The need for revenge drives Alex. Regret eats up the cop. Two sides to a story resolved in a most unusual and satisfying, yet unsatisfying, way.
Part of what makes Revanche riveting is how Spielmann focuses on details. You catch the little things in life that other writers and directors don’t give you. A shot ends and the scene is frozen after the action moves elsewhere. While Alex saws or cuts wood, his grandfather putters about in the background. You have no idea why he’s there. He just kind of walks through the scene.
Alex grabs a flashlight and takes a walk through the woods at night. The camera follows him for awhile and then stops. Alex and the light slowly disappear into the gloom.
Little things add up to big things.
The movie begins with a splash in a lake. Later, the splash has more meaning. You watch the water ripple outward, one ring interacting and sometimes interfering with another. Connected and harmonious sometimes. At other times, not. And then they are gone.
Mr. Movie rating: 5 stars
Rated R for nudity, sex, language, violence. It plays one time — 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2 — at the Battelle Auditorium in Richland.